Twenty-eight individuals and institutions were on Friday, honoured at this year’s National Tourism Awards.
The awards are to honour individuals and institutions who have played significant roles in the progress and development of the tourism industry in the country.
Mr. Kwame Ansong, Chief Executive Officer of Sunseekers Tour, was adjudged the Tourism Personality of the Year for his contribution in projecting Ghana as a preferred tourism hub and bringing thousands of tourists into Ghana.
He received a plaque and a citation.
Others, including hoteliers, travel writers, local and traditional restaurants and tour operators were also rewarded for their contribution to the development of tourism.
The Labadi Beach Hotel won the Five Star Hotel of the year, while Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel, Golden Bean Hotel, Crismon Hotel and Aqua Safari Resort were adjudged the four-star, three-star, two-star and one-star hotel of the year respectively.
Addressing the awardees, Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts reminded them that quality service would attract more tourists to Ghana.
She said tourism was Ghana’s fourth foreign exchange earner, contributing about six per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare noted that creativity, innovation and professionalism were central to the growth of the sector and urged stakeholders to spice up their services.
The sector minister commended President John Mahama for upgrading the Kotoka, Tamale and Wa airports and expansion of Takoradi and Tema harbours, adding that it would boost tourism attraction.
She mentioned the construction of Fufulso-Damango road and upgrading of other roads in tourism sites, adding that was the commitment of the National Democratic Congress to making Ghana a preferred tourism destination in the world.
Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare said the Ghana Carnival and Ghana Explore campaign projects had helped step up focus on domestic tourism.
Besides, Ghana, she said had expanded the list of international tourism fairs and exhibitions beyond Europe and America markets and hoped it would reach four million tourists by 2027.
Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare urged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to promote domestic tourism, stating that six district tourism offices had been commissioned to provide technical support to the assemblies in product development, standards and quality control and marketing of tourism.
Earlier, the acting Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Gideon Cyril Aryeequaye expressed concern on quality service, and urged employers to provide the right training to staff members to meet customer demand and satisfaction.
Mr. Aryeequaye asked managers of tourism establishments to emulate the example of Dubai, one of the most preferred tourism destinations to improve upon their services.
By Malik Sullemana