Twenty-one organisations and two individuals were rewarded at the Greater Accra Regional Tourism Awards, hosted last Saturday night to celebrate and reward excellence in the tourism sector in the region.
The event that was on the theme: “Celebrating our Heritage,” was organised under the auspices of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). The awards were in 23 categories.
The categories comprised the 4-Star Hotel of the year, Consistent payment of tourism levy of the year (accomodation), Travel agency of the year, Tour operator of the year and the Visitor attraction of the year.
Others included the Drinking bar of the year, Site guide of the year, car rental service of the year, night club/pub of the year and the Tourism oriented media of the year (Radio).
The Tang Palace Hotel was adjudged the 4-Star Hotel of the Year.
The Holiday Inn Hotel, the Accra City Hotel and the Green Oak Hotel also emerged as the winners in the 3-Star, 2-Star and 1-Star categories, respectively.
The Labadi Beach Hotel was honoured for winning the Consistent payment of tourism levy of the year award, in the area of accomodation, the Travel agency of the year award went to SatguruTravel and Tours and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was honoured for being the Visitor attraction of the year.
Accra-based radio and television stations, Citi FM and UTV, were rewarded in the Tourism Oriented Media of the Year (Radio Category), and Tourism Programme of the Year (TV category) respectively, while Mr Ellis Nii Larger Bonney and Mr Edward Quao, were rewarded for being the Tour Guide of the Year and Site Guide of the Year, respectively.
Bush Canteen located at Shiashie won the award for the Traditional Caterer of The Year (Chop Bar), while KFC won the award for the Fast Food Establishment of the Year, with Treasures Pub winning the award for the Drinking Bar of the Year.
Plot 7, Osu, won the Night Club of the Year.
An honorary award was given to the Kids in Tourism Club for its support in promoting domestic tourism.
Year of Return 2019
The awards were organised at a time Ghana is preparing to host the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” event, which is a major landmark marketing campaign targeted at attracting African Americans in the Diaspora to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown, Virginia.
The GTA, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, is leading the project, in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, the PANAFEST Foundation and the Adinkra Group of USA.
The formal launch of the celebration has been held in both Ghana and the United States and about 500,000 Africans in the Diaspora are expected to arrive in Ghana to take part in the historic event.
300,000 tourist to visit Accra
The Greater Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Nii Armah Ashitey, indicated at the event that Accra alone was estimated to receive about 300,00 tourists this year out of the expected visits, for which reason hotel and restaurant operators in the region should position themselves well for the expected boom that the celebration was expected to bring to the tourism sector.
He said the Greater Accra Region was blessed with many historical and cultural sites which would be of "great interest to the tourists.”
"I have the firm conviction that our traditional leaders will be ready to take some of these tourists to experience some of our foods and cultural rites and I believe the active participation of the tourists in these practices will greatly enrich their visit and touristic experience," he added.
Mr Ashitey called on the authorities of the tourism sector to create awareness of the 'Year of Return’ celebrations within the local communities across the country.
"Tourism has contributed significantly to income generation, employment creation, raising revenue for both local and central governments, as well as helps to re-distribute income within the economy," he stated.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, said his outfit was doing its part to create the enabling environment to boost tourism in the country.
He said a regulation was being worked on to ensure that high standards were maintained in the various tourism establishments.
Tourism Destination Single Window Project
Mr Agyemang announced that an automation system, dubbed the "Tourism Destination Single Window Project" had been initiated to streamline the operations of tourism and hospitality establishments in the country and also provide useful information to tourists within and outside Ghana.
"What we are trying to do is to bring everybody on to that portal. So wherever you are, once we register you, your establishment will be visible to the rest of the world", he added.