IGOGHANA, an online travel agency (OTA) in collaboration with the Western Regional Branch of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has organized a 1-day capacity building workshop for stakeholders in the tourism sector in the region.
The workshop was held on the theme, “Developing a Cutting Edge Tourism Package in an Emerging Digital Economy” and aims to expose participants to the untapped opportunities and best practices in the business of tourism.
It also provided opportunities to brainstorm ideas, build synergies, develop a city tour and develop a marketable tourism package for the stakeholders in the tourism sector within the Western Region, among others.
Participants mainly managers and event managers in hospitality, travel and tour operators, tour site operators and members of the Ghana Traditional Caterers Association (GTCA) and the National Drinking Bar Operators Association (NADBOA) went through lessons in digital marketing, virtual tour, and travel packaging.
West Regional Director of GTA, Mr. George Nkrumah Ansere, in a welcome address, said with the advent of technology and the process of globalization, especially in this post-COVID-19 era, the digital and traditional economies were merging as the digital economy gave rise to many new trends and start-up ideas.
He said the businesses that have adapted and adopted the internet and embraced online business in the past decade have flourished as they not only do direct sales, but buying, distribution, marketing, creating and selling have all become easier because of the digital economy.
However, the digital economy requires complex processes and technologies as building the platforms and maintaining them requires experts and trained professionals who are not readily available, especially in rural and semi-rural areas.
He therefore deemed the workshop timely and essential to empower participants to position themselves to take full advantage of the digital economy in this post-COVID dispensation for improved and profitable services.
He also urged the participants to try to meet the service expectations of digitally empowered customers by offering more experienced products at great cost while trying to become more innovative to respond to the highly competitive environment.
Western Regional Minister, Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, announced that the Sekondi-Takoradi was emerging as the face of Christmas in Ghana and the world at large with his “Takoradi Bronya” initiative among other matching programs such as Ankors festival and street carnivals .
He therefore implored the participants to take advantage of the opportunities and position their businesses to reap the maximum benefits.
The Regional Minister who spoke via zoom to share his plans with participants in the business of tourism for the Metropolis and the Region, encouraged the participants to take the presentations seriously to benefit from them.
He also urged them to take advantage of the huge opportunities that exist in the digital market and position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities it offers to improve their operations.
He noted that the region is endowed with many tourist attractions some of which are yet to be developed, hence the need for stakeholders in the tourism sector to build their capacity to tap into the opportunities.
He hinted that the region is second only to the Central Region in terms of tourism performance in the country and plans to overtake the Central Region, which has necessitated the workshop to build their capacity to explore the opportunities.
Mr Seth Ameyaw Danquah, a tourism lawyer who facilitated the workshop, defined digital economy as a collective term for all economic transactions that take place on the internet and an economy that focuses on digital technologies.
He added that it essentially covers all business, economic, social, cultural and activities supported by the web and other digital communication technologies.
He touched on the need for the tour operators to create virtual tours and said with technology improving lives worldwide, virtual tourism can revitalize the tourism industry and its people and help build a more sustainable economic model.
“For example, imagine seeing the diverse wildlife and elephants of the Ankasa forest before you even go there. It’s genius and it doesn’t stop there,” he said.
He indicated that one can view vacation sites in a video or by self-navigation with voice or joystick controls, interact with people using video calling platforms, travel the streets of said location, listen to local music and much more.
Such a setup, he said, would allow tourist guides, artisans, tradesmen, hoteliers and transport companies to create their own digital and virtual offers and communicate with potential customers.
Mr Danquah also urged the participants to form partnerships so that they can put together attractive travel parks for holiday seekers and tourists in the diaspora and home.