The Ghana Tourism Authority has organized its Northern Regional Tourism (GTA) Awards with a call on government to urgently develop the many tourism sites in the region to accrue more revenue.
The Sagnari Naa Yakubu Abdulai, Chief of Sagnarigu, who graced the occasion, observed that much emphasis had been placed on the slave trade sites to the neglect of other important areas.
These, he said, include the rich history of the various empires and the recent archaeological excavation and discovery of ornaments buried some 400 years ago in the region.
“It will be a good source of revenue and employment creation for the nation if we focus on upgrading the existing sites as well as developing new ones,” he said.
The awards ceremony, which was on the theme: “Harnessing our Tourism Resources for National Development”, aimed at recognizing and appreciating the efforts of individuals and corporate organizations for their contribution towards the development of tourism and nature conservation in the Northern Region.
Mr William Yambire, Northern Regional Manager of GTA, noted that the tourism industry in the North had the potential of contributing to the growth of the economy if the government and other stakeholders took keen interests to invest to revamp the industry.
He said the sector was the fourth contributor to Ghana’s Domestic Product, which could help alleviate poverty in the country.
“We hope to use the initiative to promote excellence, innovation , and quality among players to be able to compete on the international market,” he said.
Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, commended the award winners for their exemplary works and urged them to strive hard to showcase the local tourism on the international market.
He said the upgrading of the Tamale Airport to international status would also attract more investors to the region to establish more industries to employ the youth and stir healthy competition in the hospitality industry.
The Minister advised the public to buy made in Ghana products to help the economy grow, which would also create jobs for the unemployed youth.
He said the government was committed to developing the local industries and would be constructing model markets across the country to encourage people to buy made in Ghana products.
Mr Samuel Sam, Northern Regional Correspondent of the Business and Financial Times, was adjudged the tourism writer of the year in the competitive awards categories, for his ardent and continuous advocacy for the development and promotion of Tourism in the Region.
Garriba Lodge was adjudged the best two star Hotel of the year, while the Nim Avenue Hotel was crowned the one star hotel of the year.
The Guest House of the year went to African Dream Hotel, Mr Alhassan Musah won the Tour Guide of the Year prize, Mole National Park won the Visitor Attraction of the Year, and the Budget Hotel of the Year was handed to Mum & Dad Legacy Lodge. Metro Mass Transit Bus Services was adjudged the Transport Service of the Year. GNA