The Akwaaba Travel Market, Nigeria in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority has held the sixth ACCRA WEIZO West African Travel Expo, in Accra.
The three-day Expo on the theme: “Tourism development through digitalization”, was aimed at creating a platform as Africans to market the continent to each other.
The Expo commenced with a tour to Akosombo in the Eastern Region for participants to engage in leisure activities like hiking, cruising, night life, B2B
networking and climaxed with a conference and Balafon Award of Excellence and Exhibitions.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Mr Ikechi Uco, Founder African travel fair, said ACCRA WEIZOR was divided into three parts, the first part is experience for non-Ghanaians, knowledge sharing through the conference, and networking.
He said, “the conference since its inception has brought a little bit of collaborations in West Africa because countries like Kenya and South Africa have joined and we want to grow it.”
He said with ACCRA WEIZOR they had created a West African product for the West African domestic market where over 400 million people could benefit and urged industry players to invest in Africa more than in the outside world.
Mr Uco said, “the highest spending tourists are Africans, and so all our markets must not go to Europe, we must invest in Africa, and share our strengths together to grow the continent.”
Mr Vitus Otto Langmagne, Director, Human Resource, Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, said the theme for the conference was appropriate because tourism could not be enhanced without digitalization in this age of globalization.
He said digitalization in Ghana had taken off and running hence the collaboration was going to be an effective one, saying “we need that synergy to enhance that stakeholder tourism in the sub region.”
He said the cooperation was aimed at facilitating travel within the sub region and urged the travel professional within the sub’region to champion the process.
“This initiative has provided the platform for Ghana to lead the discussion on tourism development promotion in the sub region, and I wish to commend the organisers and GTA for the Expo and assured of the Ministry’s continues support.”
Mr Langmagne said digitization being the major driver in tourist data collection was critical in the process, and encouraged industry players to
embrace digitalization, utilize it effectively for the purpose for which we are here.
Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Operations, GTA, said one of the many strategies adopted by the GTA was to create local and international awareness of Ghana’s tourism products through participation in both local and international tourism fairs and exhibitions.
He said, “fairs and exhibitions are considered the most effective ways of reaching out to the markets and also provide unique platform for buyers and sellers to interact for business through face to face, business to business in a unique manner.”
“Nigeria is a major source market as far as Ghana’s tourism is concerned and continue to play a vital role in Ghana’s tourism business, and the expo is one of the events geared towards getting stakeholders in the tourism industry in West Africa to cooperate amongst themselves.”
He said the event aimed at creating a seamless travel environment in West Africa by bringing
together travel professionals, consumers, suppliers, intermediaries, media personnels, academia from the sub-region for interaction, effective marketing, sharing of knowledge, promotion and development of tourism in West Africa.
Mr Sampson said tourism and technological advancement were tightly interwoven and crucial on all operational, structural, marketing, and strategic levels to facilitate global communication between suppliers, consumers, and intermediaries.
The tourism industry is being transformed by a number of key technologies, and it is therefore important for tourism enterprises to embrace digitalization and innovation to drive sustainable and inclusive growth of tourism in Africa.