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GTA launches National Chocolate Day, Tourism Awards

BY: Juliet Akyaa Safo
Mrs Catherine Afeku
Mrs Catherine Afeku

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has launched the 2018 National Chocolate Day and the 13th National Tourism Awards to promote the consumption of chocolate at the national level, as well as domestic tourism.

The National Chocolate Day will be observed on February 14, 2018 while the National Tourism Awards will be held on  March 3, 2018.

While the Chocolate Day seeks to help increase chocolate consumption in the country, the Tourism Awards forms part of efforts by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to recognise tourism players helping to promote Ghana as a tourism destination.

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku, who launched the events in Accra yesterday, said although Ghana was the best destination for tourism in West Africa, the country faced stiff competition from countries such as Kenya and South Africa, adding that “we can maintain our position if we build a stronger collaboration with stakeholders.”

The GTA, for its part, has started running a national campaign dubbed: “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana” to put domestic tourism on the map, with the conviction that the intended purpose will be achieved.

Initiatives

Speaking on the theme “Eat Ghana, Eat Chocolate”, Mrs Afeku said her outfit had provided pragmatic policy guidelines to help market the country as the preferred destination for tourism in West Africa and the entire continent.

She stated: “One of the measures to be adopted on February 14, Valentine’s Day, will be to ask hotels to help promote chocolate by providing it for their guests, while arrivals at the airport will also be presented with chocolates.”

She indicated that the ministry would also collaborate with the Chefs Association of Ghana to prepare meals that would have chocolate as an ingredient on February 14.

“Buy chocolate on that day, but do not make it a one-day event; demonstrate love and friendship by buying chocolate for a loved one,” she urged the public.

She noted that the National Chocolate Day had in a way curbed the indecency that was associated with Valentine’s Day and expressed the hope that the efforts would be maintained.

Other measures

Mrs Afeku announced that a call centre would be set up to encourage the public to report poor standards in hotels and other hospitality agencies to help promote high standards and regulations to meet international standards.

She also announced that the GTA, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) would soon cut the sod to launch the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum as part of efforts to “honour our heroes”.

The Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, reiterated the authority’s commitment to partner the private sector to project the rich culture, tourist attractions and local delicacies of the country.

He said his outfit would continue in the effort to “shine the light of Ghana’s tourism”.

National Tourism Awards

On the National Tourism Awards, Mr Agyeman pointed out that the event would be used to honour individuals and organisations who had contributed to promoting tourism.

According to him, there would be five categories; namely the accommodation, catering, travels, media and the outstanding individual contributor categories.

The Acting Marketing Manager of the CPC, Nana Agyeman Ashong, said the CPC was solidly behind the celebration, adding that it would introduce handmade chocolates to further promote consumption.