Ghana Hotels Association honours President Akufo-Addo

Kodjo Adams, GNA

Accra, Jan. 19, GNA –
The Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has honoured President Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo for demonstrating visionary and exemplary leadership in declaring
‘The Year of Return’ and ensuing its successful execution in 2019.

The Association
presented a plaque and a citation christened “Significant Contribution Award”
to the President for ensuring that the ‘Year of Return’ initiative impacted
significantly on the tourism and hospitality sector and set the stage for an
accelerated growth of the industry.

The citation read,
“For demonstrating strategic foresight in declaring ‘Beyond the Return” to
expand and harness the Ghanaian Diaspora dividend for the economic development
of the nation in line with the Ghana Beyond Aid policy.

For demonstrating
empathetic leadership by promoting domestic tourism for the expansion of the
tourism and hospitality market in Ghana”.

The event took place
at the 4th GHA awards ceremony in Accra to celebrate deserving
hoteliers and personalities who have distinguished themselves in 2019.

The programme was
held under the theme: “Reducing Hotel Rates in Ghana: Role of Government and
Hotel Operators”.

Mrs Akosua Frema
Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff, who received the award and in a statement read
on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, commended the Association for the honour
done him saying “ I am truly humbled and very grateful’.

President Akufo-Addo
on September 2018 at the Washington Press Club in the United States proclaimed
2019 as the “Year of Return” which commemorated the 400th anniversary
of the time when the first 20 West African slaves were brought to the
Commonwealth of Virginia, which subsequently became part of the United States
of America, thereby initiating one of the most unfortunate and barbaric
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The President said
2019 was a monumental year for the tourism industry as there was a steady flow
of visitors, rising to a crescendo in December 2019.

He said throughout
the year, businesses across the value chain-airlines, hotels, car rentals, and
restaurants reported significant growth in numbers, adding that through the
initiative and backed by a strong marketing push, the country had seen a
year-on-year increase in hotel occupancy rate.

Some hotels were on
record to have experienced more than double the occupancy rate than they did
the year before.

To sustain the
interest and solidify the impact of the ‘Year of Return’, President Akufo-Addo
announced another initiative, “Beyond the Return” which is a 10-year programme
that seeks to influence several core areas of the country’s relationship with
the diaspora and provide business opportunities across the tourism value chain.

He said Ghana was
chosen by the African Union to host the Secretariat of the African Continental
Free Trade Area, stressing that the opportunity would boost the tourism and
hospitality sector greatly and urged the hotels to maximize the full benefits
of the initiative.

President Akufo-Addo
said the theme underscores the need for a shared responsbility between the
public and private sector players in order to deal with the challenges confronting
the industry.

“I have asked
the Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture to
fast-track the ongoing discussions with the Trade, Industry and Tourism
Sub-Committee of Parliament on the challenges that the multiplicity of
regulatory mandates and fees poses to hoteliers”.

“We must all work
together through engagements to ensure that we keep hotel prices down and
thereby lay a solid foundation for the growth of the Ghanaian tourist
industry”, he said.