Ghana Sells Tourism In china

Ghana took advantage of a rare opportunity to exclusively promote its tourism sector at this year’s China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market (COTTM 2015) held in Beijing.

Arguably the biggest platform in the history of Ghana’s participation in international tourism exhibitions, organisers of the COTTM 2015 put together a special forum in Beijing for Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, to meet the shakers and movers of the tourism industry.

On day one of this international fair that focuses exclusively on the business end of the industry, Ghana was invited to make a presentation of its attractions and tourism opportunities and Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare did not miss the surprise opportunity to woo Chinese tourists and investors.

The Tourism Minister plays host to a Chinese tour organiser. With them is Ghana’ Deputy Ambassador to China, Mr Horace Ankrah

Mobilising the other members of Ghana’s delegation, made up of officials of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Ghana Tourist Development Company (GTDC), Forestry Commission and private sector operators, the Minister took her stand before an audience that also included tourism investors and the Chinese media.

Around her were made-in-Ghana drinks and chocolate; and adorning her body were kente strips. As the TV cameras whirred and still cameras flashed from all directions, Mrs Ofosu-Adjare presented Ghana as ‘arguably the most peaceful country in West Africa,’ adding, ‘Investors have found our country the safest to invest. And we invite the investors in this room to come and put your money in our new projects such as our Marine Drive enclave, up-market hotels and highly profitable highway rest stops along the major inter-city routes.’

She urged the tour operators to organise tours to Ghana, a country ‘where culture, history and nature combine to create a haven for adventure and sightseeing’, and referred her audience to what the world knows about Ghana as ‘a country where peace reigns and where the safety and security of the tourist have become proverbial, if not legendary’.

‘Ghana is currently attracting just over 20,000 Chinese tourists a year. We aim to multiply this figure, not just double it. The fair is only one of many means to that end. Any country that wants tourism dollars cannot do without the Chinese market. This fair has marked a turning point in that quest,’ the Minister told the media.

Speaking to the media, Gideon Cyril Aryeequaye, Deputy CEO of GTDC, remarked that ‘In all our efforts to woo international tourists, we’ve never had it so big anywhere, not at the German ITB, the UK’s World Tourism Market or the Spanish Fitur, name them. This has been our biggest platform.’

Now in its ninth year, COTTM’s peculiarity is in its trademark as the only business-to-business tourism event in the world that focuses purely on the burgeoning outbound market.

Ghana’s delegation included creative arts practitioners, including hiplife musician Tic Tac, film stars Eckow Smith-Asante, Karlsume Sinare and Irene Opare.

Asked why the delegation included performing artists for a fair where noise is kept to the barest minimum, Ofosu-Adjare said it was to help the artists to move beyond national boundaries to the international scene.

‘By their presence here in China, for instance, they are being helped to get to know the Chinese taste, a factor which could influence the type of music or film they put out targeting the Chinese market,’ she explained, pointing out that ‘tourism, culture and creative arts, as a triplet-industry, is public sector-led and private sector-driven.’

‘We in the public sector facilitate their participation in events like the fairs, where we expect them to make direct business-to-business contacts and strike deals with, for example, manufacturers of world-class quality CDs for the duplication of their music and films,’ she said.

Story by Enimil Ashon, Back from Beijing.

NB: Courtesy of Ghana Tourist Development Company & M&J Travel and Tours

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