News Categories: News

09 Mar
By: Ghatof 0

2020 Paragliding Festival launched – novel activities promised for 15th edition

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has launched this year’s Paragliding Festival at Mpraeso-Kwahu in the Eastern Region. The annual Paragliding Festival dubbed , “Fun and Fly” comes on around the Easter period and this years is from April 10 -13.

The 2020 edition will be the 15th since its inception in 2005. At the launch at the Mpraeso Chief’s Palace today, Deputy CEO in Charge of Operations at the Ghana Tourism Authority, Ekow Sampson said this year’s will feature novel additions which promise to spice up the Festival.

GTA Deputy CEO in Charge of Operations, Ekow Sampson

“This year’s paragliding will have side attractions like health and fitness walk, spin and win and a tour by the Kwahu Tourism Initiative to the attraction sites in Kwahu. The Paragliding event is an aviation sport which can be enjoyed by all groups of people, that’s the youth and adults,” he said.

Sampson later in an interaction with the media added that as part of the crystal jubilee celebration of the event, “we want to have a special activity to climax the 15 years anniversary of the Paragliding Festival. We also have a developed site which we also want to inaugurate; Abetifi Stone Age Park which is a cave which has been there for about 15,000 years and shows where the first people who came to Kwahu lived.”

Nana Anum making his remarks on behalf of Mpraesohene

A sub-Chief of the Mpraeso Traditional Council, Nana Anum, who spoke of the Chief of Mpraeso, Nana Ampadu Dadwiam II, Mpraesohene, said they were grateful for the continued support they enjoy each year during the Festival from the GTA and their partners. He urged them to ensure the safety and security of all those who will be participating in the festivities.

A section of guests at the launch

GTA Officials and the Media after the launch went to the take-off site to inspect ongoing works commissioned to put the place in shape in readiness for the Festival.

Paragliding Festival 2020 is under the theme “Soaring Beyond the Return.”

The take-off site which was inspected by GTA officials and the Media

Registration is currently ongoing for anyone who would want to fly. Non-Ghanaians would have to pay 500 Cedis (USD93.72) in order to fly with Ghanaians promised special discount packages.

A full list of activities and other details on this year’s event will be announced later by the Ghana Tourism Authority.

By: Samuel Obeng Appah

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09 Mar
By: Ghatof 0

Ghana is ready to build bridges of cooperation – GTA assures AGA -Africa delegates

The CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman joined six State Attorneys of the United States to assure them of his outfit’s cooperation in ensuring, among other things, safe, secure and responsible travel.

He was part of a panel discussion on “Beyond the Return” during the Attorney General Alliance (AGA – AFRICA) Conference currently ongoing at the Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel.

Prior to the panel discussion, the CEO delivered a presentation on the “Beyond the Return” project which is geared towards sustaining the gains of the “Year of Return.”

He made mention of pillars of support for the project which include; Investments, Heritage Sites improvements, Branding Ghana, Birthright Journeys amongst others.

The six State Attorneys include; Letitia James, AG – New York, Karl Racine, AG – Washington, DC, Denise George, AG – Virgin Islands, Keith Ellison, AG – Minnesota, Aaron Ford, AG – Nevada, Kwame Raoul, AG – Illinois

The two days international conference organised by the Attorney General Alliance (AGA – Africa), a US – based organisation, is on the theme: “Tackling the reality of transnational crime in Africa – Cross border solutions and international cooperation”.

The Ghana Tourism Authority will on March 5th, sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the AGA to tackle issues of Responsible Tourism and jointly promote objectives of Beyond the Return.

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09 Mar
By: Ghatof 0

Beyond the Return: Bozoma St. John leads ENDEAVOR team to explore business opportunities in Ghana

A team of Executives from ENDEAVOR, the global leader in media and entertainment were in Ghana last week to explore ways by which they could work with local creatives to help them maximize the profitability of their work.

Leading the delegation was Bozoma Saint John ENDEAVOR’s Chief Marketing Officer of Ghanaian heritage who has been involved in bringing global celebrities and business icons to Ghana since the inception of the “Year of Return” campaign.

Speaking to the media on the fringes of a meeting between her team and local content producers, last Saturday, March 7 at the Ghana Tourism Authority Head Office in Accra, Saint John said bringing her team to the West African country was in part a personal undertaking to explore the business potentials of the local media and entertainment industry.

“I felt that I needed to bring my company and its expertise to Ghana to understand the business opportunities that we have here, especially within the media and entertainment space. Clearly there are so much stories and artistes that can be broadcast to the world but how do we do that in a way that provides great business opportunities here.

Bozoma Saint John is ENDEAVOR’s Chief Marketing Officer

“So for me, it’s partly a personal pursuit given the work I have done on the Year of Return and now, Beyond the Return, but how do I turn this into a business opportunity for the artistes’ community that is here in Ghana,” she said.

She added that Africa and Ghana in particular with its young demographic presents an opportunity for digital content distribution which ENDEAVOR is ready to help explore its business viability.

For Saint John, the most important task is “to make sure that the people who are coming are in my standards, super committed to making sure that they actually deliver on the businesses opportunities as they get the chance to do that. At the end of the day, it’s our opportunity and whether or not we turn it into something is wholly within our power.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman said this falls in line with the objective of the Beyond Return which among other things, seeks to court investments and create business linkages in the country.

“We’ve started this time with the creative arts as the first port of call. We have Bozoma and the ENDEAVOR group in town and we felt this is the perfect opportunity to start that conversation around building some collaboration between them.

CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority Akwasi Agyeman

“So whether it’s the issue of music, events, content, contented production, merchandising, the literary side of things and everything, we feel it’s the perfect opportunity for people to come, sit down, and understand the trends and how we can push out quite strongly the Ghanaian content into the global space,” he said.

Discussions between the ENDEAVOR team and the local content producers which included actors, music producers, film directors and producers, musicians, event organisers, among others centered on areas such as merchandising, events, copyrights, production, literary works and others.

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08 Jun
By: Richard Sumah 0

Ghana: Women in Business and Tourism call on Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture

Executives of Women in Business and Tourism have paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Mrs. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi to welcome her to her new role.

The Executive team was led by the President Miss Eunice Ogbugo, the Vice President- Pamela Matondo, Secretary – Olivia Adomako Mensah, Treasurer – Delphine Brew-Hammond, Organiser – Brandina Djagba, and Head of Media and Publicity -Eunice Afari

The group informed the Minister of their plans to officially launch the ECOWAS and Ghana chapter of the organisation in the country on 28th June, 2019 at which they have requested the presence of the Minister to give a keynote address.

The President on behalf of the group also mentioned to the Minister their goal to have a united front as African Business Women by connecting with women from all across Africa from the SADC region (Southern Africa), ECOWAS region (West Africa), Sahel Sahara region ( North Africa), East African Community (East Africa) and Economic Community of Central Africa States(ECCAS).

This, they plan on doing by launching the group in these 5 African regions starting with West Africa in Ghana and over the course of the next four months, the other regions will be launched in November during the UNWTO Women in Tourism Summit which will be held in Ghana.

On her part the Minister, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi indicated her preparedness to work with them as women group in the industry. She stated that women play an important role in the tourism value chain. She was happy to hear that the group is connecting with other women groups in other African countries like South Africa, Angola, Botswana, among others.

“Tourism as the fourth foreign exchange earner for the country has the potential through women to create jobs and employment which are some of the big issues being tackled by the government,” she said. She promised to offer the needed support and assistance to these women groups in the tourism industry.

She was happy to learn that the Women in Business and Tourism is partnering with the Ministries of Business Development, Trade and Industry, Ghana Tourism Authority, Ministry of Gender and Social Protection.

The main objective of the Women in Business and Tourism is to see to the ownership of businesses by women, expansion of existing businesses from small scale to large enterprises and diversification from one business into other businesses.

The organisation hopes to achieve this by organizing and participating in tourism and business investment programs, forums and conferences worldwide and also networking to obtain partnerships from fellow African women for joint ventures, mergers and investments across the continent and beyond.

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08 Jun
By: Richard Sumah 0

Year of Return: GHATOF launches Marhaba Tourism Festival to welcome African diasporans

The Ghana Tourism Federation (Ghatof) today launched the Marhaba Tourism Festival as part of the year-long Year of Return – Ghana 2019 celebrations.

Marhaba Tourism Festival is scheduled to take place from July 18 -20, 2019 and is an initiative to “properly” welcome Africans in the diaspora who yearn to return to the continent, especially Ghana which is the epicenter of the return.

Ghatof President, Bella Ahu

The launch which was characterized by cultural displays and the outdoor of the official song for the festival was also for the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Federation. The Festival will feature three days of various activities at different locations.

Guests at the launch dance to the Marhaba song

They include a Fraternity Welcome event at Prampram Beach, Opening Ceremony comprising a Durbar of Chiefs and Roots Reggae Homecoming at Trade Fair and a Business to Business Investment Summit at the Accra Tourist Information Centre.

Coordinator of Year of Return, Akwasi Agyeman

The launch of the festival and the 25th Anniversary celebrations was attended by stakeholders of the tourism and hospitality industry including, the President, executives and some members of Ghatof, Coordinator of Year of Return and CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, a representative from the Tourism Ministry, President of the African American Association of Ghana, Gail Nikoi, Executives of the Women in Business and Tourism, some members of the diaspora community in Ghana, traditional authorities, students among others.

Executives and some members of Women in Business and Tourism

The Ghana Tourism Federation is the umbrella body for all tourism and hospitality trade associations in the country that seek the interest of the private sector and act as an advocate and liaison between government and the private sector.

Members of the Marhaba Tourism Festival Planning Committee

It currently consists of 27 trade associations.

Chairman of the Planning Committee, Emmanuel Frimpong
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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 0

GTA and Year of Return partner WWE for Kofi Kingston Homecoming

The Year of Return Ghana 2019 Steering Committee is partnering the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for the upcoming Kofi Kingston Homecoming.

Reigning World Wrestling Entertainment Champion, Kofi Kingston has in a Facebook and Instagram post said he will be visiting home after 26 years. In a post that suggests he has heard the call to action in the trending #YearofReturn hashtag ‘Brafie’ #brafie and responding by inviting others to the slogan #LetsGoGhana, Kofi is will be returning home for a 4-day visit beginning May 30 to June 2, 2019 to pay a courtesy call on the President, Nana Akufo Addo and the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace as well as visit many tourist attractions including Lake Bosomtwi, Christiansborg (Osu) Castle, Bonwire, Ejisu and Komfo Anokye. He will be accompanied by a WWE crew who are shooting a documentary on him as World Champion.

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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 2

Ghana is being heralded as the next big tourist destination. Here’s why

When some of the most well-known faces from the African diaspora arrived for a recent vacation in Accra, Ghana, it looked like just another gathering of famous people.

Actors including Idris Elba rubbed shoulders with supermodel Naomi Campbell, TV sports presenter Mike Hill, and author Luvvie Ajayi.

Behind this meet-up of box office stars, fashion royalty and top creatives is a focused and ambitious strategy to make Ghana a major tourist destination.

Ghana’s travel industry is projected to raise $8.3 billion a year by 2027, plus associated benefits, according to the plan.

VIP guests attended events chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, the architect of the plan to boost tourism and diversify the country’s economy through reaching out to its diaspora, while guests took part in conferences, festivities and trips across the country to discover its unique and sobering heritage.

The primary purpose of the festival was to forge closer ties between Ghana, the African continent and those of African descent living elsewhere.

It’s 400 years since the first African slaves were taken from countries like Ghana to mainland America, marking the start of the trans-Atlantic slave trade route. This timing is based on the first recorded landing of a ship carrying Africans in Virginia in August 1619.

An estimated 75% of slave dungeons on the west coast of Africa were in Ghana — millions of people were taken and transported on ships that departed from Ghanaian ports.

President Akufo-Addo’s Year of Return announcement pointed to Ghana’s tragic legacy as a reason for diaspora descendants to return and learn about this chapter of history.

The celebrities who attended the Full Circle Festival were taken on guided tours of the slave dungeons.

“Every person of color needs to get on this pilgrimage,” said actor and co-organizer Boris Kodjoe who is of Ghanaian descent. “They need to experience this journey and get in touch with their emotional heritage, walk through the dungeons and see the ‘door of no return,'” he told CNN.

Marketing rockstar Bozoma Saint John — who has a series of marketing coups like Beyonce’s halftime Super Bowl show under her belt — worked with Kodjoe, inviting 100 of the most influential members of the African diaspora to party with them at the festival over Christmas and New Year.

Saint John, who works for global media conglomerate Endeavor and previously had high profile roles with Uber and Apple Music, says the project is close to her heart.

“As long as you have melanin and you are seeking a return to Africa, it is a must,” she told CNN.

“I really felt that I wanted to show people the country I know and love. I take it as a personal mission and will use my professional weight to help the mission.”

Saint John says that returning members of the diaspora can expect joy on their trip to Ghana as well as moments of solemnity. Skyscrapers and restaurants feature prominently in her promotional material.

“All the fun things you can do in Nice, Bali, Ibiza, you can do here in Ghana too,” she added.

Year of return

The celebrity-attended Full Circle Festival was the opening act of a broader Year of Return, announced by President Akufo-Addo in September 2018.

Speaking about the year ahead at Washington’s National Press Club Akufo-Addo said Ghana would open its “arms even wider to welcome home our brothers and sisters in what will become a birthright journey home for the global African family.”

The Year of Return includes a music festival, an investment conference targeting diaspora Ghanaians, and the Right to Return initiative, encouraging African-Americans to seek citizenship in Ghana.

This year-long initiative builds on a long tradition of looking outwards.

Ghana, the first sub-Saharan African country to win independence from colonial rule, has a history of pursuing ties with Africans overseas. It dates back to the country’s first President Kwame Nkrumah, whose vision of pan-Africanism included alliances with diaspora communities.

Nkrumah enjoyed warm relations with African-American icons such as Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, who both traveled to Ghana to meet him. Writer Maya Angelou spent time in the country after its independence and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois is buried in Accra.

Ghana has also sought to incentivize diaspora returnees through legislation such as the Right of Abode law of 2000 that allows people of African descent to apply for the right to stay in the country indefinitely.

It was followed by the Joseph Project in 2007 that encouraged Africans in the diaspora to return, officials have compared it to Israel’s Law of Return that allows Jews to become citizens.

These initiatives have had some success. An estimated 3,000 African-Americans had permanently settled in Ghana by 2014.

By the time Saint John is finished with marketing Ghana to the world, she is hopeful it will have knock-on impact across the region and wants to reshape people’s perceptions.

“We are going to use Ghana as a gateway to the rest of the continent,” she said.

“There are beaches in Kenya as well as snow-capped mountains. We need to tell the story of all the amazing opportunities Africa has to offer.”

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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 0

‘Ghana is losing from politicization of tourism industry’ – Kojo Yankah

Former Chairman of the Pan-African Festival (PANAFEST), Kojo Yankah has said the infiltration of politics in the management of Ghana’s tourism industry is a contributory factor to the dwindling fortunes of the industry.

According to Mr. Yankah, the unhealthy politicization of the industry is negatively affecting the tourism potential of the country since in some cases unqualified people are placed in influential positions because they helped a party come into office.

Speaking in an interview on Citi TV’s current affairs program, Face to Face, Mr. Yankah, who is also a former MP additionally said Ghana is losing a lot, in terms of revenue, due to this trend.

He called on government to begin to see tourism as a big business that could offer so much value to Ghanaians.

“We are losing so much…No, I am afraid we don’t have a program for tourism, it’s all adhoc. We had a tourism plan and program in the 70s and eary 90s. I don’t know if that program is still there but that defined the action plan and strategic directions we needed to take as a country to evolve but now to some point it is even more political, we are destroying what we have and what we can do with politics.”

“If you put somebody at the top who is only thinking about how to satisfy foot soldiers to put them in places and pay them, then we have a problem. You don’t put somebody in certain places because they suffered for the party. It is a business so put people who are qualified. It is a major business.”

Mr Kojo Yankah also disclosed that his tenure as the PANAFEST chairman saw the country benefit from significant achievements that did not only have economic value but also boosted the international image of the country.

He explained that during his tenure of Chairman of PANAFEST, he sought to use tourism to project the image of the Central Region which was among the least developed in the country.

“Central region is the fourth poorest region in Ghana apart from the 3 Northern Regions the next poorest region in Ghana is the central region. I saw tourism as the industry that could drive the whole region and make money for the region so as the we deliberately had plans to develop products that would do the trick, we already had the castle and forts, when we invited the director of health, education, water and sewage to be part of the Tourism development committee, they didn’t understand later they did…and that is how we developed it.”

“PANAFEST in 1992 and by 1994 the demand was high, so we had people developing their hotels, Government even gave the hoteliers association money, we got all the hotels filled up. People had to go find accommodation in the Western Region.”

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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 1

Data collection, a catalyst for tourism growth in Africa

Exactly a week into the New Year, Kenya released its tourism statistics for 2018 much to the admiration of industry watchers who hailed the quickness and effectiveness with which they have been able to collate and compile the data.

Kenya like just a few African countries has adopted an effective data collection mechanism as one of the multi-faceted approach to developing and growing its tourism. For countries that have paid attention to proper data collection, one thing has remained constant; that data helps to plan and properly prepare tourist destinations for visitors. Unfortunately, not so many African countries have seen the need to have an effective data collection mechanism. The few who care enough rely on statistics provided by say, their immigration authority which makes the final data not empirical enough.

Additionally, it sidelines visitor numbers and receipts from the domestic tourism space. It is against this background and more, that it has become imperative for any country that is serious about tracking its tourism numbers to adopt a more scientific means of collating data. One of such mechanisms is the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).

The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is a standard statistical framework and the main tool for the economic measurement of tourism. It has been developed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-opération and Development (OECD), the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) and the United Nations Statistics Division. The Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008 (also known as the TSA: RMF 2008) provides the updated common conceptual framework for constructing a TSA. It adopts the basic system of concepts, classifications, definitions, tables and aggregates of the System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA 2008), the international standard for a systematic summary of national economic activity, from a functional perspective.

The TSA thus allows for the harmonization and reconciliation of tourism statistics from an economic (National Accounts) perspective. This enables the generation of tourism economic data (such as Tourism Direct GDP) that is comparable with other economic statistics. Exactly how the TSA does this relates to the SNA logic of contrasting data from the demand-side (the acquisition of goods and services by visitors while on a tourism trip) with data from the supply-side of the economy (the value of goods and services produced by industries in response to visitor expenditure).

In what could simply be described as apathy towards data gathering, African nations were some of the late adopters of the TSA. A report by UNWTO in 2010 on ‘TSA Data Around the World’ showed at the time that Egypt was the only African country out of the 60 around the world that had been identified as “having already produced or are currently developing a TSA exercise.” That effectively translated to zero sub-Saharan Africa involvement with TSA at the time. Many more countries in Africa have since subscribed to the TSA. Botswana for instance launched its updated TSA last February, having done so twice previously. That notwithstanding, most of these countries have left their TSA dormant and are unable to publish their tourism data as timeous as is required.

Tourism data constitutes one of the biggest challenges of the sector in Africa. This assertion has been made, time and again by experts, students, tourism boards and the general African public. The recognition of the tremendous benefits that tourism data brings cannot be overemphasized. It is through data collection that national tourism agencies and ministries can have the figures, based on which to advocate and push for improved sites and experiences for tourists. The United Nations Statistical Commission’s Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics reiterates, “Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation.”

While the TSA to some, might not be the ultimate formula for getting an absolute tourism statistics of countries, it presents opportunities for key data to be collected when one considers the pointers on which information is premised; the TSA can be seen as a set of 10 summary tables, each with their underlying data: inbound, domestic tourism and outbound tourism expenditure, internal tourism expenditure, production accounts of tourism industries, the Gross Value Added (GVA) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) attributable to tourism, employment, investment, government consumption, and non-monetary indicators.

It is an undeniable fact that the intervention of the TSA enables governments to, amongst others, create collaborative inter-institutional platforms for more refined and integrated tourism data collection, and to purposefully identify data gaps and create action plans to produce timely and credible tourism statistics. Of course, such collaborations should be done with national statistical services and tourism agencies with the mandate to collate data. The catch with TSA is that the UNWTO has constantly supported member countries technically and in other areas to keep them updated on the dynamics and trends. Alternatively, counties could develop their own framework for gathering tourism data which conforms to globally accepted standards. Tourism data is crucial to the sector’s *growth and development in Africa and must be seen as such, after all, this industry thrives on information and how much is shared.

By: Samuel Obeng Appah

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07 Feb
By: Richard Sumah 1

Ghana: National Chocolate Day 2019 launched

The Ghana Tourism Authority GTA) in partnership with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) have launched this year’s National Chocolate Day.

Akwasi Agyeman , CEO, GTA

National Chocolate Day which falls on February 14 was instituted by the GTA in collaboration with Cocoa Processing Company, Ghana Cocoa Board and other stakeholders some years ago, to create awareness on the need for Ghanaians to patronise cocoa products and to help generate more revenue for national development.

Emmanuel A. Opoku, Deputy Chief Executive in Charge of Operations, COCOBOD

The 2019 National Chocolate Day is under the theme, “My Chocolate Experience,” which organisers are hoping will help drive the promotion of chocolate and the generic consumption of cocoa in Ghana and the rest of the world.

A section of participants at the launch

Activities for the celebration of the National Chocolate Day have begun with a digital campaign by the GTA.

Other activities include a health walk, chocolate funfair, and chocolate bash, among others.

Musician and Tourism Ambassador, Okyeame Kwame exchanging pleasantries at the launch of the National Chocolate Day 2019
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