The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has awarded 22 hoteliers and individuals, including the Daily Graphic’s Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah for their contributions to the development of tourism in the Brong Ahafo Region in 2017.
At the 2017 Awards Night held in Sunyani, Mr Adu-Gyamerah emerged the Tourism Writer of the Year based on the several stories he wrote on the tourism sector, particularly during the Kintampo Waterfalls disaster during the year under review.
A citation accompanying the award read: “This award is in recognition of your hard work and maturity in reportage. You have distinguished yourself by producing during a time of disaster and controversy, an analytically detailed piece devoid of emotions and personal issues”.
The citation also stated that “your unbiased feature on the Kintampo Waterfall disaster portrayed the real essence of journalism at your own financial expense. We, therefore, appreciate your good works and confer on you, Tourism Writer of the Year”.
Showcase of tourism potentials
In his address, the acting Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of the GTA, Mr Joseph Appiagyei, said apart from awarding people who had distinguished themselves in the sector, the award also provided an opportunity for the region to showcase its tourism potentials and resources to the outside world.
He said the hospitality industry was mainly about quality and satisfactory service delivery to clients, adding that “putting up beautiful edifices does not mean one is operating a hospitality facility”.
Mr Appiagyei said service being delivered at such beautiful edifices should meet the expectation of guests before such facilities could compete for awards and recognition by the GTA.
He observed that service delivery had improved tremendously in recent times and that explained why the region was attracting so many conferences.
Poor road network
Mr Appiagyei, however, expressed dissatisfaction about the tourists’ attraction sites, which he said were greatly affecting domestic tourism.
He, therefore, appealed to the government to rehabilitate roads leading to tourists’ sites in the region to enhance their patronage and provide more employment to improve the local economy.
The Eusbett Hotel, was adjudged the best Service Provider of the Year as well as the Three-Star Hotel of the Year.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, the Chief Executive Officer of Eusbett Hotel, Mr Sam Bennett expressed concern about the withdrawal of incentives to operators of the tourim industry.
He explained that in 2005, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) promulgated a new instrument aimed at increasing investments in the country’s tourism industry.
Mr Bennett explained that for the five years that the L.I 1817 was in operation, international tourist arrivals increased from 428,600 in 2005 to 931,224 in 2010 (48 per cent) with revenue increasing from $836 million to $1.875 billion.
Within the same period, he said about 100,000 (34 per cent) of the 291,202 jobs in the industry were created and described the period as “unprecedented.
Mr Bennett regretted that despite the tremendous impact of the L.I, it was repealed in 2011 and appealed to stakeholders for re-consideration of the repeal of the law.