The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, has honoured 18 industrious personalities and institutions for their hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 National Tourism Awards sought to reward their impactful contribution to the tourism sector, encourage stronger rebound of tourism and to build relationships amongst the Authority and its stakeholders who had distinguished themselves to advance the course of the industry, especially in these challenging times.
The Awards, held in Accra, was the 16th in the series on the theme: “Stronger Partnerships for Inclusive Tourism Growth”.
Mr Mark Okraku Mantey, the Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, said the tourism industry in 2020 was hit hard by the pandemic, causing a lot of enterprises to shut down, which led to a huge decline in revenue mobilisation.
The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, the opening of the borders, and other government interventions like the World Bank Grant to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism industry, the Ghana Cares Obaatanpa initiative, and single window destination helped the industry to bounce back, he said.
The men, women and institutions deserved to be honoured because of their contribution to the stabilisation of the industry during the extremely difficult times.
“This is our way of showing our appreciation to your tireless efforts towards the tourism industry to ensure that our vision of making Ghana a preferred destination come to fruition,” he said.
Mr Akwasi Agyemang, the Chief Executive Officer of GTA, said despite the challenges of the pandemic, the industry had showed it could survive through the resilience, support and tenacity of industry players.
He said a committee had been integrated at the public private partnership forum, which would be a catalyst for engagement with the Authority and the private sector to address those challenges.
He said in 2020 the sector recorded international arrivals worth 355,000 and in the first nine months of 2021, it recorded 411,000, which showed improvement in numbers.
Domestic tourism saw 290,000 visitors to the various sites in the country and as at September, it had crossed the 350,000 mark.
“COVID-19 has its own ideas with new variants coming every time but as industry players we will change our tactics to fight the variant and stay in business,” he said.
The awardees included Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, Supportive Traditional Ruler, Nana Kobina Nketsia, Okatakyia Prof Amanfi VII, Mr Ernest Williams Edusei, Prof Esi Sutherland-Addy, Madam Grace Omaboe, and Mr Kwaw Paintsil Ansah, honoured as Cultural and Tourism Icons.
The others were Mr David Dontor, Mr Daniel Amponsah (Agya Koo Nimo), Mr Joe Nyarko, Mr James Ebo Whyte,
Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Outstanding Tourism Man, and Kuoru Kuri-Buktie Limann, Outstanding Personality in the Preservation and Conservation of Iconic Sites
The Kingdom Exim Group won the Outstanding Corporate Stakeholder, Mrs Delphine Brew-Hammond, Outstanding Tourism Woman, Mr Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey, Tourism Oriented Media Personality, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, Outstanding Personality in the fight against COVID-19, and Chefs Association of Ghana, Most Active Tourism Trade Association.