The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has engaged members of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) on industry best practices including tourism events and programmes for the year 2019.
The GTA at the meeting, has resolved to partially invest in the capacity building for all tour operators nationwide so as to further improve tourism services in the country.
GTA’s CEO Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, speaking at the meeting said, “TOUGHA is a critical stakeholder for the GTA and as such, it was necessary to have their capacity further enhanced to meet existing demands of the global tourism market.”
He underscored the importance of tour operators as individuals who contribute significantly to marketing attractions and destinations in various countries.
“The GTA is doing its best in marketing Ghana, but the main people who can do 90 percent of the job are the tour operators who mainly deals with the teaming tourists that visit our country on yearly basis,” Mr. Agyeman explained.
Instructively the authority has put together a packed itinerary for next year under “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019” event.
However, the GTA will also offer product training and certification for all tour operators and tour guides, collaborate with other countries on tours, particularly with Dubai, participate in international fairs and exhibitions as well as licensing programmes for all tour operating companies.
Beginning next year, the GTA in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs, Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry will begin ‘The Year of Return Ghana’ programme.
The programmes line up for the event include, ‘This is New Africa Festival in January, ‘Back2Africa’ in February, Independence Day in March, Heritage Paragliding in April, a gospel rock show in in May, A homecoming festival in June, Panafest and Emancipation Day in July, the Great Pilgrimage in August, World Tourism Day in September, Ghana Carnival in November and Afrochella in December 2019.
“All these events offer the opportunity to tour operators to design products and packages that will attract visitors from the diaspora,” Mr Agyeman said.
Meanwhile, President of the TOUGHA, Mr. Kwesi Eyison, said the Union would continue to collaborate with the GTA to collectively undertake programmes and activities scheduled for next year and beyond.
He however said issues such as processes for visa acquisition for international tourists, roads to various tourist sites and sanitation at the tourist sites continuously pose challenges to the industry.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe