Kempinski Hotel, Accra, has been adjudged the Five-Star Hotel of the Year 2017 at the 13th edition of the National Tourism Awards held by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) while 28 tourism-related businesses and individuals were also awarded medals for the 2017.
Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, MoTAC, said the awards are aimed at instilling an industry-wide service culture that squarely matched prevailing global standards and made the sector truly competitive.
She explained that tourism was a major pillar of the economy and expected to be one of the key drivers of Ghana’s socio-economic transformation through the creation of jobs, foreign exchange receipts, urban regeneration and the stimulation of local manufacturing to meet the diverse needs of the sector.
Mrs Afeku said government’s unwavering commitment to the sector is reflected in the unprecedented increase in its 2018 budgetary allocation.
Government, Mrs Afeku noted, had outlined many product development initiatives to upgrade tourism sites and enhance visitor experience, restored tax incentives for investment into the sector and undertaken robust marketing campaigns and strategic partnerships to accelerate development.
“Again the introduction of the Single Widow Destination Project reaffirms government’s commitment to promoting excellence in the tourism industry. The project, when fully operational, will provide a consolidative portal to measure tourism’s contribution to the economy and also assist SMEs in the tourism business to become visible to the world.
“I am confident that government’s vision for the tourism sector can be achieved and the full benefits of a robust tourism sector realized across the span of the entire value chain,” she said.
GTA’s CEO, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, explained that the National Tourism Awards programme was instituted by the GTA in 1997 to reward excellent performance in the sector.
“It was also to raise standards and encourage healthy competition among industry players with a view to positioning tourism as a vibrant economic sector and consolidate the country’s position as a preferred tourist destination,” he said.
The four-star award went to Tang Palace Hotel, while Aqua Safari Resort, Ada; received the Three-Star Hotel of the Year. Zaina Lodge was adjudged the Two-Star Hotel of the Year with Green Oak Hotel receiving the One-Star Hotel of the Year while 27 competitive and honorary awards went to individuals and organizations who have contributed to the growth of the sector.
The ceremony was held under the theme: “Promoting Responsible Tourism.”
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe