Herbert Acquaye, National President of the Ghana Hotels Association
The National President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Herbert Acquaye has advised the government to find ways of increasing the number of airlines in the country, to increase tourism patronage.
According to him, if the government does not license more carries and rather allow existing ones to pull out, it will affect the number of arrivals to the country which will in turn also reduce the number of tourists.
Herbert Acquaye's comments follow the threats by international carrier, Virgin Atlantic and some local airline operators, to pull out of the country due to unfavourable conditions.
"Once airlines pull out, that obviously will decrease the number of arrivals that we get but we hope that as airlines leave, we [will] get airlines coming in and we get airlines increasing their flights to be able to make up for the shortfalls," he noted.
The National President of the Ghana Hotels Association urged that, "We need to encourage as many airlines as possible. If we are able to increase tourism arrivals then there will be no reason why airlines will leave."
Herbert Acquaye, who was speaking to Myjoyonline.com after the launch of the first Africa Hospitality Show at the Accra International Conference Centre, said while the country looks at increasing the number of airlines, it must also upgrade facilities to accommodate them.
The three-day Show, put together by Litina Travel, seeks to bring together experts and service providers in the tourism sector to exhibit products and also brainstorm to deduce solutions to some of the challenges facing the industry.
The Africa Hospitality Show, Herbert Acquaye noted, will provide "a forum for interaction, a forum for dialogue and networking and it's bringing so many parties within the industry together to dialogue on key issues which affect the industry and at the end, find appropriate solutions"
He observed that the challenges facing the Ghanaian tourism sector are enormous but "We need to create a critical mass of entrepreneurs who are supporting the industry in terms of products and services."
Ernestina Abroquah, Managing Director of Litina Travel
Ernestina Abroquah, Managing Director of Litina Travel, told Myjoyonline.com that more has to be done to make Ghana one of the best tourism destinations in Africa. She said tourism has the potential to earn more revenues for the country.
The Africa Hospitality Show will try to sensitize the general public on the need patronize the country's tourism products.
Bret Matteson, CEO of Columbia Hospitality International, who is a guest speaker at the event, noted that the biggest challenge facing tourism in Ghana is "developing relationships and finding the right projects that we can bring value to."
"Tourism is already strong in Africa" he said, and added that, "opportunity lies is raising the service level of the hotels and tourist incorporations. In Ghana there are some fine buildings but it [tourism] is an industry in its infancy and so to bring a service attitude that is world class I think will be beneficial."
Over 80 exhibitors and tourism service providers from Ghana, Turkey, Rwanda and India are participating at this year's Africa Hospitality Show. Apart from the exhibitions, there will be conferences and networking sessions. The hospitality show sends Saturday.