The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has now given Ghana the go-ahead to host the first-ever Regional Conference on Tourism Branding and Africa’s Image.
The event, which was scheduled for September last year, was suspended due to the Ebola Outbreak and other unfavorable circumstances.
It has however now been scheduled to come off from 17th to 19th August in Accra with an unchanged theme “the Brand and Image Regional Conference for Africa”.
Tourism Minister, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare disclosed this to the media after a meeting with the Secretary General of UNWTO, Dr Taleb Rifai and his team at the just-ended International Tourism Exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
“I’m confident the conference has come at an opportune time and will afford Ghana an opportunity to showcase our rich culture, history and heritage to the rest of the world. The confirmation of the conference goes to affirm the confidence and endorsements the World Tourism body has in the country and Africa as a whole” she said.
According to her, the economic benefits of the event to Ghana cannot be over-emphasized.
She said “with more than 50 ministers of tourism as well as private sector players from the whole of Africa flying into Ghana means booking into international class hotels and spending monies on artifacts, among others which will translate into foreign exchange earning to the country.”
She admitted that the Ebola outbreak, which affected tourism in Africa was certainly going to be a test case in discussing issues at the conference but was confident Ghana was going to host a successful event.
The UNWTO Regional Director for Africa, Madam Elcia Grandcourt on her part said “Africa has an image problem, the African brand has, for too long, been the story of persistent wars, poverty, disease, name them – all negative.
“The world dwells too readily on the negatives when there is so much positive coming out of Africa, a continent of so much beauty, with so much potential. We must reverse it, and tourism can reverse it.”
She said for the conference to be a successful one, “we have to come together to package Africa as the world’s preferred destination.”
The UNWTO Regional Director for Africa said the conference coming up this time will help discuss the issues thoroughly was the Ebola case of reference will be brought to bear.
Meanwhile, the UNWTO Secretary General has called on potential tourists around the world to visit Ghana once in their lifetime, adding that “there is nothing like the experience of being with the wonderful, beautiful, warm, and hospitable people of Ghana”.
He was speaking at Ghana’s Independence Day Celebration in Berlin, Germany organised by Ghana’s Embassy in Germany.
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