Accra, Oct. 21, GNA - African Travel Times, West Africa’s monthly travel and tourism magazine has held its 2019 awards, with Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III Akwamumanhene gracing the ceremony as the Father of the Day.
The annual awards, which was initiated six years ago, recognised excellence in the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria, Ghana, West Africa and beyond.
This year’s award ceremony assumed a new dimension because of interest from more key players in the sector.
Apart from individuals, winners also emerged from various industries including; hospitality, airlines, national/states and tourism agencies.
In the Airline categories were; [International]; Ethiopian Airlines, which emerged best for Africa; Kenya Airways as the ‘Most Supportive National Carrier’ for effective promotion of the Kenyan Tourism brand; Arik Air bagged the Most Recognisable Airline Brand [Nigeria] and Air Africa World Airlines, the Most Reliable/ Best Connectivity Airline [West Africa].
In the Hospitality Category, West Africa winners are; Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, [West Africa]; Royal Senchi Resort, Number One Resort [West Africa]; Tang Palace Hotel, Best Dining Experience Hotel Of The Year [West Africa]; Zaina Lodge, Best Safari Facility and The Envoy Abuja, the Most Modern and environmental Friendly Facility in West Africa.
In the governments/agencies category, Akwa Ibom State, Top Sport Tourism Destination [West Africa]; Rivers State, Most Supportive Government in Sustaining Tourism Facilities [Nigeria]; Ghana Tourism Authority, Most Active Tourism Agency, West Africa, as well as South African Tourism, ‘Most Effective National Marketing Tourism Agency’ [Africa] for the second year running; as well as Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture of Ghana as the Most Active in west Africa.
In the Ghana category, winners were: Labadi Hotel, 5-Star Hotel/Longevity Award; Peduase Valley Hotel, 4-Star Of The Year; African Regent, 3-Star Hotel of the Year/Most Authentic Ghanaian Hotel; Villa Monticello, Boutique Hotel Of the Year; Maaha Beach Resort, Best in Ghana; Accra City Hotel, Green Hotel of the Year; Kwarleyz Residence, Best Apartment; Lou Moon Lodge, Best Eco-Lodge and Golden Tulip Accra Hotel emerging ‘Best Ghanaian Dining Experience’.
Other winners were: National Council for Arts and Culture [NCAC] of Nigeria, Most Active culture agency in West Africa; Gambia, Most Visited Destination in West Africa; YOKS Rent A Car, Ghana, Best In West Africa; Bernard Bankole, Most Active Association President, West Africa; National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies [NANTA], Most Active Association and Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, Most Active Woman in Tourism, West Africa.
Also to be honoured are; Seth Yeboah Ocran, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, YOKS Investments Limited, Ghana; Chief David Nana Anim, former President, Ghana Tourism Federation [GHATOF]; Associations of Business Women in Tourism and Women in Tourism respectively.
Speaking at the ceremony, Akwamumanhene, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, said the Akwamu areas would soon become a major area for tourism for Ghana and West Africa on account of the facilities in the area.
He mentioned the hotels such as Royal Senchi Hotel, the Volta Akosombo Hotel and sailing and Boating facilities such as; Dodi Princess and railway projects as some of the facilities that were of great interest to tourists.
He said the Akwamu Gorge Conservation Project was in progress.
Mr Lucky George, Publisher of African Travel Times Magazine called on African leaders to invest heavily in tourism and hospitality sectors as they were the major foreign exchange earners in the world now.
He called on Ghanaian leaders to move away from the perennial forts and harbours and divert into other areas that would bring foreign exchange and create more jobs for their people.
He appealed to Ghanaian Journalists to take interest in writing on tourism and Hospitality as that aspect was very low in the Journalistic sector.
Dr Wasiu Babalola, a Nigeria specialist in the Industry called on the youth to do everything possible to upgrade themselves educationally to become the future leaders.
He said it was quite difficult, on Account of poverty levels in the continent, but with determination they could achieve their goals; “as the popular saying, no pain, no gain’ teaches.
Madam Jenny Adade, Managing Director of Ilearn Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre said although Ghana had numerous hospitality centres provision of good services was yet to reach its best as most of them lacked the professionalism to handle their guests.
She said at her training centre, they provided their students with practical training to acquire skills that would enable them to churn out the best for their customers.
“It takes a very longtime to build relationships of getting customers, but it takes a very short time to lose them, if properly handled’ and called on the hospitality centres to encourage their workers to acquire skills training to put them in business.
The event was chaired Herbert Acquaye, former President, Ghana Hotels Association.