To promote Domestic Tourism in the country, the National Executives of Africa Tour Operators Alliance (ATOA) have initiated moves to engage authorities and industry players to create avenues for sustainable promotion of tourism at the local level.
The team made up of the Technical Head of ATOA, Mr Gideon Asare and Events Manager of ATOA, Mr Michael Ako Nai in this regard, called on the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah to discuss best ways to revamp tourism activities in the Western Region.
Mr Gideon Asare, who is also the Managing Director of Adansi Travels announced during the engagement with the Minister, that capacity building would be carried out by ATOA through periodic training of members, coupled with effective team work to propel tourism in the country.
According to him, the organization would drive the African agenda through tourism whilst leveraging on individual strengths through partnerships, cooperation and effective collaborations.
He mentioned that ATOA would translate the collective efforts of the industry players into results oriented gains for the benefit of all members, the country and the continent.
He said the intent and purpose for the establishment of the organization, primarily revolved around the potential of the tourism industry in Africa which must be strategically tapped.
He indicated that tourism had the potential to deal with the growing phenomenon of unemployment in the Western Region, Ghana and the African continent provided the industry was well harnessed.
On his part, Michael Ako Nai, assured the Regional Minister of the commitment of ATOA to unveil new destination products in the Ghanaian market to improve on the fortunes of domestic tourism in the country.
He called for a concerted effort from stakeholders to achieve the herculean task with the involvement of all travel agents, tour operators, hospitality industry suppliers and Aviation industry managers, who are all keenly working strategically along the value chain of the tourism industry in Ghana and Africa.
He therefore called on those who are industry players, and have been sitting on the fence to join the Africa Tour Operators Alliance.
He said the organization was established in Ghana ostensibly to create a united front, and that a unique platform was required to make available a bigger voice to drive the tourism industry in Ghana with speed and ultimately advance the course of development in the African continent.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr Darko-Mensah, who welcomed the team to the Region, assured them of his commitment to support the Alliance to succeed in an endeavour geared towards transforming the tourism industry in Ghana.
He said, as part of his vision to create employment opportunities in the Region, he would partner relevant organizations including ATOA to change the narrative and introduce Programmes and projects that would project the sector to grow.
He said although his administration, and the Region, had set the target of leading tourism growth in the country, the emergence of COVID-19 out of the blue thwarted that effort.
According to the Minister, in 2019, the Western Region beat the Ashanti Region and became Second Best in the country, while keenly following the Central Region which has since been at the top spot.
He touched on various initiatives carried out by his administration to promote sustainable development of tourism in the Region and the country with emphasis on empirical data to influence performance of all programmes and projects being undertaken by both public and private institutions working together in the interest of the tourism industry.
He said his administration had direct contacts with officials from Spain, France, Canada and Nigeria since last year for closer collaborations to increase inbound and outbound traffic volumes in the Region.
He advised the Executives to partner credible institutions, build new networks in and outside of the country to learn best practices, new techniques, gain experience, secure relevant and necessary information to sustain their operations.
This, he noted, would serve as an anchor for sustenance of the campaign being waged to broaden the tourism industry and that once broadened, the sector would create new opportunities to enhance revenue generation.