Monday, September 8, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 9 September, 2014: Afri-Tourism!

Since 29 July, AIF has navigated the waters of a topic that merits more discussion on the Ghanaian media landscape – that of Tourism. We wittingly coined a term called “Afri-Tourism”, which we define as “the witting attempt by Africans to purchase African products while visiting African countries.” So far, we have dedicated no less than four shows to tourism-related issues. These include the aviation sector on 19 August; the Hotel industry in Ghana on 26 August; and Afri-tourism on 9 September. Truth be told, we introduced the concept at the first-ever High-Level Public Forum on Regional Development in West Africa, which was organized by the Research & Communications Unit of AIF on 4-5 September. Our rapporteurs are working hard to produce a report, which we will make available as soon as we can.

We had renowned tourism expert, and author, Kofi Akpabli make a presentation on “Towards Afri-Tourism: Making Ghana a viable tourist destination”. And what a presentation it was! He spoke to the issue of sub-regional tourism, which is something East Africa does so well, and West Africa can do better. For example, he wondered, given the number of newly-wed Nigerian couples that come to Ghana, can this country possibly be considered a honey-moon destination in West Africa? And what about Lome and its beaches? Or Cote d’Ivoire and its wildlife?

Akpabli spoke of regional tourism blocs, and wondered whether in West Africa, we are competing or complementing each country’s efforts for tourism? If the Caribbean and East Africa can do it so well, why can’t we? Senegal, we learn, has targeted the African-American diaspora to such an extent that some of them come to West Africa not even knowing of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage? We should begin to ask questions about African countries and their Unique Selling Propositions (USPs).

To this end, we want to use the 17th edition of the show to speak to experts in the field who have more than a fair idea of what it means to facilitate Afri-Tourism. We want to end the show with a way forward, which includes a greater awareness by the listening public and beyond that Afri-Tourism doesn’t start tomorrow; it starts almost yesterday, so let’s get Afri-touring!

Guiding Questions to be answered:
·        What do we need to know about the Tourism sector, and some of the challenges associated with it in Ghana & Africa? ()
·        Is Ghana ready for Afri-tourism at the scale of other African countries? (CityEscape Hotel/Kenyan Forestry Service)
·        Can the subregional response to the tourism sector translate to a continental one? (Kwizera/Kenyan Forestry Service)
·        What are some of the threats to any development of an Afri-tourism perspective? (Kenyan Forestry Service)
·        Does Ghana have a sufficiently-sustainable environmental sector that will stimulate Afri-tourism? (CityEscape Hotel)
·        What are Kenya and Rwanda doing in responding to the challenges of the tourism sector?(Kwizera; Kenyan Forestry Service)

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Ebo Aidoo-Annan Jr, CityEscape Hotel
Ø  Ignatius Ahimbisibwe, RwandAir

On the line
Ø  Patrick Kwizera, Tour Guide, Rwanda
Ø  Charity Muthonin, Kenya Forestry Service  @ 14h10

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