The next outdoor event on the calendar of the Citi Business Festival is the AKWAABA Forum, designed to address challenging issues in the tourism and hospitality industry.
The forum which will come off on Thursday June 22, will bring together all stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry.
This will include regulators, policy makers and the private sector to deliberate on the challenges confronting the industry and explore solutions and policies to deal with the issues.
Regulators of the industry will be given the platform to discuss policies formulated or being formulated to deal with challenges and develop the sector moving forward.
The forum will among others, discuss challenges facing the industry, explore ways to deal with the challenges , spell out synergies private sector and government can create to address the challenges and push industry ahead of its competitors as well as explore ways to quicken but realistically fast track the implementation of Ghana’s 15 year tourism development plan.
the forum will also consolidate proposed solutions from regulators and private sector, inform policy direction and present a detailed plan of action moving forward (blueprint).
The key areas the forum will look at include, current state of industry ,policy direction and formulation, investment in the sector , total infrastructure ,workforce and the future of the sector .
Participants include the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts , Ministry of Aviation, Ghana Tourism Authority , Ghana Tourism Development Company , Ghana Airport Company Limited and Ghana Tourism Federation.
The rest are Ghana Hotels Association, Ghana Airlines Association, Tour Union Association of Ghana, Tourism Sites Owners and Jumia Travel.
Despite its enormous potential of overcoming Ghana’s top foreign exchange earners (cocoa, gold & oil) and becoming the most significant driver of growth and development for the country, the tourism industry continuous to face challenges hindering its potential.
Figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), reveal Ghana’s tourism sector directly contributed GHS2.62bn ($727m) to Ghana’s GDP in 2013, or 3% of the total.
Though the figure is slightly above the global average of 2.9%, it is far below regional leaders such as Gambia (9%), Senegal (5.3%) and Kenya (4.3%).
On the other hand total contribution of travel and tourism to Ghana’s economy was GHS6.24bn ($1.73bn) in 2013, or 7.2% of GDP.
This is however significantly below the global average of 9.5% of GDP, and Kenya’s 12.1%, for example.
The need to make its development a priority cannot be avoided as Ghana’s top earner – cocoa, gold and oil continue to suffer significant plunge in revenue due to volatilities on the World market while unemployment, declining economic growth and slump in output of the current top commodity earners still remains a major challenge for government.