Under the auspices of His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with support from the Ghana Tourism Authority and Ghana Tourist Development Company, the World Tourism Forum - Africa Summit was held in Accra, Ghana on 11th October, 2018 at the Kempiski Gold Coast Hotel.
This unique forum, which was the first of its kind and held in Africa, brought together stakeholders, investors, policy makers and many other players in the Tourism & Hospitality sector to discuss and debate several topics channeled toward the development and sustainability of tourism in Africa, particularly Ghana. Many international tourism experts mounted the stage at various times to share knowledge on strategies as well as plans to make tourism in Ghana and Africa better.
Although this was a global event, the benefits to Ghana as a growing tourism country was enormous. Jumia Travel, Africa's leading online travel website examined the manner in which Ghana benefited from the forum held in 2017 World Tourism Forum, which resulted in Ghana hosting the event in 2018.
The conference made Ghana became the centre of attraction for it brought gurus in tourism to converge in the capital city of Accra to share ideas. The international media were present to broadcast the event live while it gave the opportunity to other nationals to visit Ghana for the first time.
As pointed out by one of the local speakers, Ghana is not being broadcasted on international scene for poverty or diseases. For once, Africa is not being given the spotlight for its political instability and wars but rather portrayed in a positive way. It shows that we are making progress and this will change some misconceptions about us and rather reflect positively as a safe travel place and a tourist destination.
Whenever there is an international event such as sports or conference, it gives rise to business and employment opportunities. From logistics to ushering, security to photography among others, there is a job in there for everyone. There is always an opportunity to make some extra money. Although it was a one day event, preparations for it started months in advance and gave many the chance to play a part in history while making some good money. For others, it gave them the experience and created a network of opportunities. Having access to nearly everyone who matters in the travel and tourism industry is a platform many can only dream about. As some put it, "you got the chance to dine with kings and queen".
The forum also gave Ghana the opportunity to show case its rich culture, tradition and heritage, seen in the colours as in the attire worn by the ushers and escorts in colourful kente with stylish ahenema and beautiful beads to compliment. Welcoming all guests were the cultural troops which consisted of local drummers and dancers who sang and danced to melodious cultural tunes coined from historic fables and myths. The sights were memorable and helped to put smiles on faces and body movements of the international guests that gave an indication of their love and approval for everything, for they loved every bit of it. The diversity in Ghanaian culture was displayed and every part of the event had its own piece of tradition, which was a master piece.
There were several local dishes prepared on spot by local cooks for guests to see first hand how these meals are prepared such as pounding of fufu and the preparation of banku. Local drinks such as sobolo and pito were also available.
Aside the influx of several nationalities, the forum also showed that Ghana was ripe for business. Many of the participants and experts also took the opportunity to discuss business partnerships and possible investments with Ghana. There were ministers of state and other high profile executives from government that one could to talk to about investment opportunities in Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Mr Yoofi Grant in one of his submissions, said the doors of Ghana were opened to any form of investment that benefits our country and the various sectors of the economy. It is also the right place to do business because there are good spirited people around to direct affairs.
The event was climaxed by a gala and consequently the African Tourism Awards which was used to appreciate efforts of certain stakeholders and players in the industry who had excelled and contributed immensely to the success and development of Tourism in Africa. These were the Accra City Hotel, a four-star hotel in Accra and they took home the African City Centre Award while Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel, Accra also got rewarded for their hospitality and excellent service throughout the forum. Indeed, it was an extra plus for the Ghanaian hospitality industry as these endorsements only shows the progress made by the sector in terms of what they can offer in terms of their delivery to both domestic and international clients. It evidently became clear at the end of the forum that Tourism Forum was held in Africa for the first time, it is evidently became clear that Ghana had made a name in world as a result of being able to host the event.