Tourism enterprises have been urged to embrace digitalisation and innovation after the COVID-19 pandemic to drive sustainable and inclusive growth of tourism in Africa.
According to the Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr Ekow Sampson, that would enable businesses to increase their efficiency and effectiveness in the tourism value chain.
Mr Sampson said this at the climax of the 6th Accra-Weizo West African Travel Epo 2023 organised by Akwaaba Travel Market, Nigeria in collaboration with GTA in Accra on Friday.
Themed ‘Tourism Development through Digitalisation,’ the Expo aimed at creating a seamless travel environment in West Africa to bring together travel professionals from the Sub-region.
“The theme is appropriate because tourism and technological advancement have been tightly interwoven for the past 25 years,” Mr Sampson said.
He indicated that internet and information technologies were crucial on all operational, structural, marketing, and strategic levels to facilitate global communication between suppliers, consumers, and intermediaries.
One of the many strategies, Mr Sampson said adopted by the GTA was to create local and international awareness of Ghana’s Tourism products through participation in both local and international Tourism Fairs and Exhibitions.
Nigeria he said was a major source market as far as Ghana’s tourism was concern and continued to play a vital role in Ghana’s tourism business.
“Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia remained among the top ten arrival countries, with about 9.5 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 1.6 per cent of total annual arrivals respectively in Ghana,” he added.
Mr Sampson expressed gratitude to organisers for the programme in the development and promotion of tourism in the West Africa sub-region.
The Director of Human Resource, Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture, Mr Vitus Otoo Langmagne in a speech read on behalf of the sector minister, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal said the initiative had provided the platform for Ghana to lead the discussion on tourism development promotion in the sub-region.
He encouraged industry players to embrace digitisation, utilise it effectively to drive sustainable tourism growth in West Africa.
“Digitalisation being the major driver in tourist data collection and dissemination is critically in this process. Travel professionals must champion these causes,” Mr Langmagne added.
The Organiser of the Akwaaba Travel Market, Nigeria, Mr Ikechie Uko, said the Accra Weizo was geared towards getting stakeholders in the tourism industry in West Africa to cooperate amongst themselves.
He stated that despite the enormous challenges, Africa could achieve more with collaborative synergies and cooperation instead of competition.
He called for the need to encourage West Africans to travel within the region to grow its domestic market and harness its opportunities.