Kempinski Hotel has been adjudged the Five-Star Hotel of the Year 2017 at the 13th Edition of the National Tourism Awards.
The Four-Star Award went to Tang Palace Hotel, while Acqua Safari Resort received the Three-Star Hotel of the Year. Zaina Lodge was adjudged the Two-Star Hotel of the Year with Green Oak Hotel receiving the One-Star Hotel of the Year.
The awards ceremony, organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority, on the theme: “Promoting Responsible Tourism,” presented 27 competitive and honorary awards to individuals and organisations who have made immense contributions to the growth and development of Ghana’s tourism industry.
The ceremony, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, was graced by industry players, government officials, traditional rulers and heads of diplomatic missions.
Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the awards aimed to instil an industry-wide service culture that squarely matched prevailing global standards and made the sector truly competitive.
She said tourism was a major pillar of the economy and it was expected to be one of the key drivers of Ghana’s socio-economic transformation through the creation of jobs, foreign exchange receipts, urban regeneration and the stimulation of local manufacturing to meet the diverse needs of the sector.
Mrs Afeku said government’s unwavering commitment to the sector is reflected in the unprecedented increase in its 2018 budgetary allocation.
She said the Government had outlined many product development initiatives to upgrade tourism sites and enhance visitor experience, restored tax incentives for investment into the sector and undertaken robust marketing campaigns and strategic partnerships to accelerate development.
“Again the introduction of the Single Widow Destination Project reaffirms Government’s commitment to promoting excellence in the tourism industry. The Project, when fully operational, will provide a consolidative portal to measure tourism’s contribution to the economy and also assist SMEs in the tourism business to become visible to the world.
“I am confident that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision for the tourism sector can be achieved and the full benefits of a robust sector thriving tourism sector realised across the span of the entire value chain,” she said.
Mrs Afeku called for the end of open defecation at tourist sites and in communities.
She congratulated the award winners for their diligence and hard work and urged them to continue to make excellence their hallmark and play their critical roles to create a professional service culture in the tourism sector.
Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, Omanhene of Edina Traditional Area, who was the Guest of Honour, said the tourism industry was the fastest growing industry worldwide, with Ghana being the centre of the world.
He said it required diligence, professionalism, innovation, creativity to remain above the competition and satisfy the growing and diverse pace of tourism business.
He called on the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ghana Tourism Authority and industry players to be mindful of the global competitive nature of tourism and endeavour to offer products and services that could match international quality and standards.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, said the National Tourism Awards programme was instituted by the Ghana Tourism Authority in 1997 to reward excellent performance in tourism.
He said it was also to raise standards and encourage healthy competition among industry players with a view to positioning tourism as a vibrant economic sector and consolidate the country’s position as a preferred tourist destination.
Honorary awards were presented to Mr Frank Apeagyei, Mr William Charles Danniels, Mr Nkunu Akyea, Madam Bella Ahu and Madam Maleani Kaisse.
Other awards include Guest House of the Year – Petit Palais, Budget Hotel of the Year – Aborigines Beach Resort, Hostel of the Year- Charlotte Hostel, Tour Operator of the Year – Land Tours Ghana Ltd, and Traditional Caterer of the Year – Bush Canteen.
The rest are Site Guide of the Year – Jemimah Kesse, Tour Guide of the Year – Mr Herbert Nii Kpakpo Allotei-Cofie, Airline of the Year (Tourism Promotion) – KLM, and Visitor Attraction of the Year – Kakum National Park.
Restaurant of the Year (Indigenous) – Azemera Restaurant, Fast Food Establishment of the Year – Papaye Fast Foods, Night Club of the Year – Plot 7, Drinking Bar of the Year – Treasures Drinking Bar, Car Rental Service of the Year – St. Michael’s Car Rental, Constant Payment of Tourism Levy (Catering) – Platinum Gray, Restaurant of the Year – Moti Mahal Restaurant, Serviced Apartment of the Year – Rockville Apartment, Travel Agency of the Year – Satguru Travels, and Constant Payment of Tourism Levy of the Year (Accomodation) – Anita Hotel.
Tourism Writer of the Year – Kofi Akpabli, the Mirror, Tourism Oriented Media of the Year (Radio) – Citi FM, (Television) – Untied Television (UTV), (Print) – The Mirror, (Online) – Ghanaweb.com
and Tourism Programme of the Year – Heritage Ghana, UTV.