Ghana has been selected to host the first-ever United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Regional Conference on Tourism Branding and Africa’s Image this year.
The conference, scheduled for September 9 through September 11, is intended to rebrand Africa away from the negative image of wars, instability and hunger.
An agreement to this effect has been signed by Mr. Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary General and Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Culture & Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, on the sidelines of the recent UNWTO meeting and Regional Seminar on Tourism & Air Transport Connectivity held in Luanda, Angola.
Addressing the media later, Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said Ghana counted it a privilege to be singled out by the world body to host the conference.
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“It is the UNWTO’s endorsement of Ghana for her democratic credentials and a country which can be used as a model of peace in development,” she stated.
“The eye of the world will be on Ghana in those three days. Everybody who is somebody in tourism, especially multi-national companies which market tourism and organise tours, will have Ghana on their radar. What an opportunity to make Ghana visible on the international tourism map!”
In terms of foreign exchange earnings, the minister spoke of the benefits of having more than 100 ministers of tourism and the private sector from the whole of Africa flying into Ghana, booking into international class hotels and spending hard cash on artefacts, among others.
“It is an opportunity to showcase our rich culture, history and heritage to the rest of the world. Even the word of mouth publicity by such satisfied class of travellers speaks volumes for Ghana,” she added.
She took the opportunity to invite member countries to participate in the international event.
The Minister used the occasion to reiterate government’s commitment to promote and develop tourism, culture and creative arts as vehicles for economic development.
At the UNWTO meeting and Regional Seminar itself, the Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Minister was invited as a discussant and she presented a paper on the topic: ‘The Role of Governance and Resource Efficiency Management in Boosting Tourism Sector in Africa’.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare later led a delegation of Ghanaian tourism operators, from both public and private sectors, to Cape Town to participate in the first- ever World Tourism Market Fair in Africa. The fair was hosted by South Africa.
On the delegation were officials from the Forestry Commission, the Ghana Tourist Development Company, Apstar Tours and Sunseekers Tours.