The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has selected Ghana to host a major conference of African Tourism Ministers this year to develop strategies for using tourism to change Africa’s persistent poor image in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Dubbed ‘The Brand and Image Regional Conference for Africa’, the forum is slated for the last quarter of this year.
Madam Elcia Grandcourt, the UNWTO Regional Director for Africa, announced this here when she held a meeting with Ghana’s Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, on the sidelines of this year’s ITB Berlin.
“Africa has an image problem,” she said. “The African brand has, for too long, been the story of persistent wars, poverty, disease, name them – all negative. The world dwells too readily on the negatives when there is so much positive coming out of Africa, a continent of so much beauty, with so much potential.
“We must reverse it, and tourism can reverse it,” she said and urged: “We have to come together to package Africa as the world’s preferred destination.”
The UNWTO Regional Director for Africa said Ghana had been approached to host the conference because of the country’s peace and stability credentials. “Most importantly, Ghana has declared 2014 as the Year For Tourism Development, and the conference will be the UNWTO’s way of showing its approval and congratulating the country on this decision.”
Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare assured the UNWTO of Ghana’s willingness to host the conference, in spite of challenges facing the country’s economy.
“The benefits of hosting are immense. It will be an opportunity to showcase the Ghana Brand. We shall not leave the delegates talking in Accra. To whatever programme the UNWTO will draw, Ghana will add a few tours to our attractions.”
She singled out the world body for praise, saying that everything it promised to do for Ghana had been fulfilled. This includes the technical assistance it offered to Ghana in the drawing up of the 15 Year Tourism Development Plan. Further, Ghana requested assistance in Rebranding its Tourism Marketing as well as the development of tourism physical infrastructure. Both of these are being done.
With regard to the request for instance to develop infrastructure, the UNWTO helped in the preparation of feasibility studies for the Marine Drive Project in Accra and for the Nzulezo comprehensive Tourism Development Project.
The International Tourism Bourse (ITB) is the world’s leading travel trade show
As a driving force in the travel industry, ITB Berlin gives important impulses to a continuously growing market. Exhibitor sales of about 6 billion Euro because of its effectiveness in guaranteeing that supply and demand meet at the right place chance to explore the international travel industry’s entire product spectrum. All levels of the value added chain are present: Tour operators, booking engines, destinations, airlines, and hotels right through to car rental companies.
Its 170,000 visitors, including 113,000 trade visitors and 11,000 represented companies from 180 countries, also benefit conferences and workshops addressed by the leading think tank of the global tourism industry.
From: Times Correspondent, Berlin