The Tema Regional Directorate of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has held its regional awards to recognise excellence in the tourism sector for 2019 at an event in Tema over the weekend.
The awards, instituted by the GTA to recognise excellent performance in the sector, was meant to, among other objectives, raise standards and encourage healthy competition among industry players to firmly position tourism as a vibrant economic activity.
Held under strict Covid-19 safety protocols, the colourful event which attracted industry actors and selected media personnel, was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on the theme: “Growing Tourism Beyond the Return”.
In all 23 categories, some 23 enterprises were awarded and an individual honoured for their adherence to high standards and quality service delivery particularly in making Tema a preferred tourism destination.
The categories included; 3-Star and 2-Star Hotel of the year, Consistency in payment of tourism levy (Accommodation, Food and Beverage), Tour operator, Traditional caterer, Drinking bar and nightclub of the year, Best tourism programme, Tourism oriented media outfit and car rental of the year.
The rest were; Guest House of the year, Serviced apartment, Restaurant (Grade 1, 2 and 3) of the year, Visitor attraction of the year, Best Hostel, Best Travel Agent and Tour guide of the year.
Mr Charles Buabin, Regional Director of the GTA Tema, addressing awardees and participants at the awards ceremony said, the GTA could not be oblivious of the exemplary and remarkable sacrifices organisations and individuals were making to drive the tourism sector in Tema.
Such display of excellence, he added, necessitated the flagship event to celebrate enterprises that were advancing the vibrant economic sector and consolidating the country’s position, especially Tema, as one of the preferred tourism destinations in the country.
He indicated that, the Covid-19 pandemic had evidently affected the tourism sector immensely and said “not much has been accomplished this year, but there is work to be done collectively in harnessing our strength to promote our region to tourists to be prominently featured on the itinerary of tour operators”
Citing some notable tourist attractions in the region; the Shai Hills Resource Reserve, sandy and rocky beaches, the super water sports in the Volta Estuary in Ada, cultural and historical edifices amongst others, he called all and sundry to better discover Ghana by visiting Tema.
Mr Isaac Adomako-Mensah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Finance and Administration, Ghana Tourism Authority, who delivered a speech on behalf of the CEO, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, said the awards had come at a time when the Kotoka International Airport had been opened for tourism traffic after a long closure due to Covid-19.
He, therefore, called on tourism industry players to grow beyond their boundaries and better improve on their standards and quality service delivery.
He noted that the GTA was tasked with the onerous responsibility of organizing the “Year of Return” initiative in 2019 and by dint of hard work and dedication, culminated into “Beyond the Return” to sustain the momentum of the gains achieved under the year of return.
Beyond the Return, he emphasized, hinged on seven solid pillars; Experience Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation, Give Back to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana and Invest in Ghana.
Mr Adomako-Mensah informed that, under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the GTA in supporting and cushioning tourism stakeholders throughout the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, had disbursed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) to various stakeholders in the tourism industry.
In addition, he said “the GTA ensured that stakeholders applied for the stimulus packages announced by the President including the one billion Ghana Cedis channeled through the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and a stimulus package of three million Ghana Cedis loan from Commercial Banks.”
Brigadier General Jo-Sylvester Kwame Nkrumah, Chairman of the occasion, in his closing remarks, called for a collective effort by all stakeholders including government agencies, with a stake in providing service, direction, sector policy, to enhance domestic tourism and attract tourists to the country.
Among some of the awardees, Aqua Safari Resort in Ada was adjudged 3-Star Hotel of the year, whiles Agba Maami Chop Bar in Tema won Traditional Caterer of the year, African Ancestral Wall in Prampram was also awarded Visitor Attraction of the year.