Business News Wed, 12 Nov 2008

Ghana at tourism fair in London

The World Travel Market (WTM), the world’s second largest annual travel and tourism exhibition, opened in London on Monday.

It is described as a global market for the travel industry.

Ghana is among the more than 47,000 exhibitors and visitors taking part in this year's WTM, which is taking place at the Excel Exhibition Centre, East London.

Ghana has consistently participated in the WTM for the past 15 years. The delegation to this year's event is led by the Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Mrs Oboshie Sai Cofie, whose schedule at the fair will include attending the UNWTO Ministers Summit and the WTM Global Economic Forum. She will grant interviews to major international press houses and also meet West African public/private sector operators on joint promotional programmes in the subregion.

Ghana will also play host to a cross section of exhibitors as the country celebrates its day at the fair with a grand display of the country's culture and other tourism potentials.

Among the private sector operators attending the fair are the Ghana Hotels Association, Home Tours, Connect World Tours, Apstar Travel and Tours, Mibes Hospitality and Tours, Sunseekers Tours and others

Ghana's objective for participating in the WTM is to create international awareness as the preferred tourism destination in West Africa, increase tourist arrivals into the country, especially from the United Kingdom, a major source market whose’ arrivals stood at almost 70,000 in 2006, and other generating markets.

Others include generating business for private sector operators, as well as network, research and get updated on current trends in the tourism industry.

One of the main highlights of this year's WTM is the observance of the World Responsible Tourism Day which aims at providing the travel industry with a full day of hard-hitting truths to increase awareness of responsible tourism. This year’s project will focus on two main industry sectors - hotels and tour operators.

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer published in June, world tourism got off to a sound start in the first four months of the year, noting that despite looming global uncertainties, international arrivals grew by five per cent compared to the same period in 2007.

This emphasises the stability of a sector traditionally in the front-line of economic cut backs.

The report said the trend could also augur well for the rest of the year which is overshadowed by the prospect of recession, with the UNWTO predicting overall growth of three to four per cent.

The UNWTO World Barometer Tourism Report praised Ghana and Uganda for showing positive signs of good performance for this year. In the case of Ghana, it said, "Ghana claimed good results for the first few months of this year, thanks to the expanded air capacity and its hosting of soccer's Africa Cup of Nations and the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)."
Source: Daily Graphic