Ghana's tourism industry received recognition last Monday at an Africa Travel Market Conference underway in Nigeria where the country picked 10 awards in the travel and tourism sectors.
Ten women, including the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Catherine A. Afeku, and the Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Dapaah, were honoured for their respective contributions to the growth of the travel and tourism sectors in Ghana.
They were among top 100 African women recognised for their immense contribution to tourism growth as a vehicle for the development of Ghana and Africa in general.
Other awardees were the Head of Human Resource of the Ghana Tourism Authority,(GTA) Ms Gifty Kwansah; the Head of Sales and Marketing of Africa World Airline, Ms Victoria Takyi; the Managing Director of Apstar Tours Limited; Ms Stella Appenteng; the Chief Executive of Stellar Tours and Ms Glory Brisbane; Chief Executive of Staple Travel and Tours and President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA).
The rest were Ms Nancy Sam Quartey the Director of Sales and Marketing of Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, Ms Victoria Obiakor; the Managing Consultant of Ridge Royal Hotel, Mrs Marigold Mingle and Ms Bertha Degraft Johnson of the Golden Tulip Hotel.
The biggest winners on the night, from Kenya, swept 22 awards, including the first female commercial captain to Fly Kenya Airways, as well as the first woman on the continent to fly the world’s biggest aeroplane.
In his address, the Founder and Organiser of the Africa Travel Market, Mr Ikechi Uko, observed that while Africans in the diasapora remitted more than $100 billion annually, the amount of grants Africa got from donors was about $40 billion, meaning “we got more money from our people than grants”.
“If we ever begin to work as one people, we don’t need any grants, we don’t need any loan, we don’t need NGOs running around telling us what to do. The only way we can do it is if we collaborate,” he said.
Mr Uko said Africans needed to walk hand in hand to break down the barriers of challenges and cited the commitment of travel and tourism advocates for being part of the reason behind visa on arrival policies in some countries.
Ghana introduced visa arrival in Mach last year.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at the event, Ms Kwansah of the GTA expressed gratitude to organisers of the awards.
“Tourism is about customer satisfaction and we strive to give our best to catch the eye, the heart and feeling of tourists,” she said.
Ms Appenteng of Apstar Tours was of the view that the award was a reward for hard work after 20 years in the industry.
“As a woman in our industry, you have to be very strong and have the willpower to be at par with the men and not to be brought down. You just need to work harder to get to the top,” she stated.