Travel writers and tour operators from across Europe have paid a familiarization visit to Ghana to acquaint themselves of the country’s culture, tourist sites, food and its people.
The 10-day trip is under the aegis of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Ghana Tourism Federation (GTF), Turkish Airlines, the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) led by Apstar Tours limited among other stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry.
The tour operators, from Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Denmark arrived in Ghana last week Thursday and scheduled to visit several sites in the country including the Usher Fort at James Town, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and the James Town Fishing Harbour.
Other locations and activities planned for their one week stay are the Cocoa Research Institute and the craft (kente-weaving) village, the Manhyia Palace Museum all in Kumasi and partake in the Akwasidae festival which is celebrated by the Akan people.
Acting Marketing Manager at GTA, Mrs Roberta Dawson-Amoah who welcomed the guests told Business Finder the trip was organised to effectively market the Ghana’s rich culture to the world, boost tourist arrivals and increase revenues from the tourism and hospitality industry.
“With the vision of the Tourism Ministry and the GTA, to market Ghana to the world as a tourism destination, one of the strategies is to have writers, tour operators and people who handle the business, people who influence decision making when it comes to deciding which destination to go,” Mrs Dawson-Amoah explained.
“These people carry the traffic and so we are opening Ghana to them, let them have own their experiences, completely different from what they have read or been told about Ghana, so that when they go back they call tell the story better than before they came.
Opportunities for investors to flock in
The familiarization trip presents a golden opportunity for investors to visit Ghana and take advantage of the investor-friendly atmosphere to do business.
“We want to position Ghana in a way that we will attract and rub shoulders with the big players in strategic sectors of the world economy; we are poised to optimize our potentials as the preferred tourism destination in West Africa and the rest of Africa,”
Trip birthed at ITB Berlin Trade Show
Managing Director of Apstar Travel and Tours, Mrs Stella Appenteng disclosed to Business Finder that the familiarization trip was birthed at ITB Berlin, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show in March this year, where Turkish Airlines mooted the idea and said they were ready to support the trip.
“To execute the plan they needed tour operators so we met in Berlin and had discussions; we continued communicating and planning on our return to Ghana,” Mrs Appenteng stated.
The Apstar MD said the guests were looking for something different, noting “they are not the usual tourist sites, so we planned that they come to meet the Akwasidae festival to experience it at first hand.”
Some of them have organised tours to Ghana but they themselves had never been here so it was to experience things for themselves.
Tour Operators & Hotels support trip
The trip, Mrs Appenteng said was jointly organised and supported by industry players in Ghana, to get the European tour operators to experience the Ghanaian hospitality and culture for themselves.
According to Mrs Appenteng, the La Palm, Alisa, Golden Tulip, Coconut Grove, Royal Senchi, African Regent and Fiesta Royale hotels “supported the project through accommodation, bed and breakfast, lunch and relaxation among others.
Turkish Airlines facilitated travel
The tourists were flown from their various countries of origin to Ghana via Istanbul by Turkish Airlines as part of the arrangement.
Marketing Officer with the Airline in Ghana, Mr Jonathan Awuletey told Business Finder Turkish Airline was proud to be associated with the trip, noting “we thought it wise to partner the GTA and tour operators here in Ghana to have this trip come into fruition.”
“Our brand is a globally accepted and we travel to more destinations around the world more than any airline,” he added.
Source: Isaac Aidoo || The Finder