Tourism Minister advocates for African-European Partnership

Business News of Friday, 30 January 2015

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Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts, Hon Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare has advocated for a closer collaboration between Africa and her European partners to accelerate tourism investment and development.

The Minister, who is leading Ghana’s delegation at the 35th edition of the FITUR international tourism fair currently ongoing at Feria de Madrid in Spain, made the call at the Tourism Investment and Business Forum (INVESTOUR) at the fair.

Contributing to a panel discussion on the topic “Investing in human capital” she was of the opinion that though African solutions should be devised to solve African challenges, expert technical support and partnerships from developed economies are equally crucial. She said Ghana has already set the pace of utilising continental human resources by approaching Kenya to assist in the transformation of HOTCATT. She was quick to add, however that she would welcome European partnership and support in that regard.

The Minister said in Ghana, a 15 – year National Tourism Development Plan is being implemented to put premium on research and human capital development among others. In pursuit of this, she disclosed that Ghana is in the process of transforming the Hotel, Tourism and Catering Training Institute (HOTCATT) into a National Hospitality Academy to help improve industry human resource capacity and standards.

Hon Ofosu-Adjare further revealed at the forum that Ghana had commenced a process to train about 10,000 lower to middle level manpower to improve service delivery.

Participants and panelists at the forum observed that though there are unemployed graduates all over Africa, there seemed to be deficits in human capacity in the hospitality industry. They called for the sharing of experiences and success models, diversification of product offerings, and value addition to help address the industry’s human resource needs.

There was also a suggestion for the organisation of some intensive short courses and training programmes for unemployed graduates who want to pursue hospitality as a profession but lack the requisite educational and technical qualifications.

FITUR is a global meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound Ibero American markets.

Available statistics indicate that in 2014 alone 9,083 exhibiting companies from 165 countries/ regions, 120,231 trade participants and 97,549 people from the general public, met during FITUR to transform leisure into business and business into development. Also noteworthy was the presence of 7,368 journalists from 60 countries, a turnout that demonstrates the importance of FITUR on the international circuit of tourism sector events.

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