The Ghana Tourism Authority says it was considering the adoption of strategies where rural communities will participate and enjoy the benefits of local tourism. Among them will be to promote the concept of home stay, which allows visitors to lodge with host families within a particular rural communities.
This will afford the visitors the opportunity to participate and experience the rich Ghanaian culture.
Other activities shall include farm visits, rites of passage, storytelling, as well as the preparation of local cuisine and the production of local artifacts.
Speaking at the 19th edition of the Regional Tourism Awards in Bolgatanga, The Upper East Regional Director of the GTA, Alhaji Ismael Hakeem encouraged the youth particularly women in tourism endowed communities to take advantage by availing themselves to be members of traditional dance groups, producers of souvenirs and owners of small scale tourism enterprises.
Radio Ghana’s Joyce Kantam Kolamong was at the event said, the 19th edition of the Regional Tourism Awards was themed: “Advancing the Games of Tourism through Quality Service Delivery” saw 26 individuals and organizations claiming various awards in competitive and honorary categories.
GBCs Upper East Regional Correspondent, Isaac Asare was named the Tourism Writer of the Year, while a private radio station, A1 Radio was adjudged the Tourism Orient Media of the year.
Tourism Personality of the year went to the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Salifu Alemyaarum.
Newly established Akayet Hotel, was given a special award for being rated as the only four star hotel in the whole of Northern Ghana.
Ex-tee Crystal hotel where the event was held, received the most prestigious award of the night as the two star hotel of the year.
Whiles, commending the award winners for their commitment to promoting best standards in the tourism sector, the Regional Director, GTA, Alhaji Ismael Hakeem indicated that from January to September this year, the GTA has registered and licensed 15 new hotels and catering establishment in the region.
According to him, tourists’ arrivals and receipts have also receive a major boost as most foreign nationals have made the region one of their preferred tourism destination considering its rich tourism potentials.
He said the region have also become a destination for health tourism as it has consistently played host to visitors mainly medical experts from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali.
Such medical tours, he noted has made the region to rake additional revenue and foreign reserves.
Alhaji Hakeem further disclosed that his outfit is actualizing the concept of Private Public Partnership by offering professional and technical expertise to municipal and district assemblies, MDAs, in the region to own, develop and promote their tourist sites for mutual benefit of the larger communities in the various districts.
He seized the opportunity to caution all tourism operators to place premium on insurance and also prioritize the safety and security of both their guest and property.
Alhaji Hakeem again called on the various traditional councils to involve the authority in the planning, marketing and promotion of their festive activities so that it could be incorporated into the tourism yearly calendar and brochures for promotional purposes.
In an interview, an awardee, Radio Ghana’s Isaac Asare encouraged media practitioners to beyond the normal way of reporting and venture into other areas of specialization to enhance their writing skills.
The event brought together key dignitaries including the Upper East Regional Minister – Albert Abongo, His Excellency David Adenzi Kanga – Council of State Member, the President of the Regional House of Chiefs – Naba Sigri Bewong and a host of other officials from the headquarters of the Ghana Tourism Authority.