The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has been recognised by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation for spearheading an innovative tourism drive in Ghana and Africa.
The recognition, in the form of an award, the first of its kind to be presented to a Minister from Sub- Saharan Africa, was also an acknowledgement of Dr. Awal’s efforts at promoting tourism between Ghana and the Mediterranean region.
The President of Malta, Mr. George Vella, who presented the award, described Dr. Awal as a creative and worthy ambassador of Ghana and Africa.
According to Mr. Vella, “much as it is good and important to look into the future, it is also good to look into the rear-view mirror and recognize all those who contributed to what we have today and all those who are today spearheading efforts, knowledge and ideas to rekindle and create a new approach to tourism by spearheading it along a sustainable and resilient development path”.
This he said required bold and transformative steps underpinned by new tools, new data, new ways of working and new resources significantly built on the experience of the past.
Mr Villa also presented awards to a number of individuals from various Mediterranean countries for their role in the promotion of tourism.
He said tourism had the potential to overcome instability because earnings from tourism trickled down to people in the community and created opportunities for a better future, adding that when tourism is managed correctly, it is not only sustainable but also easily adaptable and flexible to specific economic and social realities.
The President indicated that tourism was the economic and social raw materials and resource capable not only overcoming differences amongst key players across the Mediterranean region and the world at large but also had the potential of strength and diversity.
He noted that Malta enjoyed excellent relations with all Mediterranean countries and their surrounding regions and therefore had an important role to play in the socio-economic development of the area.
Mr. Andrew Agius Muscat, Secretary General, Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, said “as international tourism rebound, over-tourism related issues would resurrect” and therefore stressed the need for sustainable development.
He said tourism should therefore play a key role in achieving a sustainable future for the world.
Mr. Muscat said tourism should be done in a way that protects both people and places and secure a positive future for destinations and local communities for generations to come.
The Secretary General said it was imperative for the hospitality sector to go digital adding that the prevalence of social media had radically changed the relationship between guests and hoteliers, adding that online reviews had a huge impact on potential guests as they researched before making travel decisions.
Mr Muscat said there were plans to establish a West African office of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation in Ghana to promote tourism and investment between Africa and the Mediterranean.