The Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) has launched its 25th-anniversary celebrations and the Mahraba Tourism Festival to welcome Ghanaians who had been away for 400 years to their motherland.
The Festival dubbed “Building Bonds; A Stimulus for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Development” is an initiative from GHATOF and is expected to take off from July 18 to 20, 2019 in Accra.
The Tourism Festival would be commemorated with lots of activities like the Fraternity welcome, the durbar of chiefs, roots reggae homecoming and business to the business summit to climax the event.
Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture in a statement delivered on his behalf, said it was important to know that as part of the anniversary of GHATOF, a good partnership had been established with the Ministry, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Bureau of Diaspora Affairs and others to celebrate the median edition of the Festival.
She said the objective of the festival was to advocate for the return of persons of African descent in Ghana this year and promote domestic tourism to boost the development of micro, small and medium scale enterprises in communities to contribute significantly to the transformation process of local communities and districts.
The Ministry through the GTA, she said, was poised to marketing Ghana locally and internationally in terms of its attractions and unique events like paragliding, emancipation and other events of arts and culture.
She said the move was made by developing events to sustain the interest of visitors into the country, bring about maximum returns and benefits as that promoted Ghana on the world tourism map.
“The private sector is the engine of growth and the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism gives prominence for government to create a conducive environment for the private sector investment in accommodation, travel, catering, transport and other tourism-related services,” she said.
He said it was with these trade and private sector associations in tourism that led to the formation of GHATOF, and Federation had since not departed from its aim of being a private sector advocate for the interest of tourism in the country while collaborating with all relevant organisations.
Mrs Gyasi congratulated the founders of the Federation and called on stakeholders including the media to partner with the Ministry by partnering the Festival and GHATOF to make Ghana the ideal tourism destination of Africa.
Madam Bella Ahu, the President of GHATOF said the maiden edition of the Festival would be packed with lots of activities to make the returnees feel at home and settle.
She said GHATOF was instrumental in the setting up of the tourism fund and a major contributor through its numerous associations.
She appealed to the Minister to respond to their call for support and commended the GTA for providing office space for the Federation.
Madam Ahu noted that more work needed to be done when it came to issues surrounding the tourism industry and called on stakeholders and the media to help to propagate the message of the Festival.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the GTA said celebrating the “Year of Return” brought about many challenges that threatened the existence of many tourism businesses, sciences and attractions that needed to be dealt with.
He said currently, there was an airline of science and attractions which was being discussed at stakeholder engagement meetings to be forwarded to Attorney General’s Department and subsequently be submitted to Parliament for assessment.
The move, he said, would help to resolve some of the challenges at the Tourism sights.
Mr Agyeman said the introduction of Mahraba Festival would stand the test of time and give hope on what to expect in the coming years after the Year of Return.
He pledged the support of the Authority to the Federation to make the celebration a success.