Posted by Sade Williams
In an event that attracted the crème de la crème in tourism in West Africa, the organizers of Accra Weizo, an ECOWAS region travel expo has unveiled Top 100 Tourism Personalities in West Africa at Accra, Ghana.
The ceremony was held at the weekend at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
“The Top 100 Tourism Personalities was set up to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves and through their efforts or that of their organizations have impacted positively on the travel and tourism sector across the West African sub region, whose efforts have stimulated and helped to achieve their individual country’s tourism goals and forging interactions among stakeholders and customers across the region”, Ikechi Uko, organiser of the awards, said.
While the Balafon Awards was instituted 2009 by the publishers of ATQNews, the Balafon Awards Committee made up of Travel Professionals and Journalists from across West Africa had earlier met and shortlisted nominees.
The award was set up to recognize individuals and organizations that have excelled in Tourism and Travel and who also have contributed to the growth of Hotels Business, Tourism and Travels in West Africa.
The event was graced by his royal highness, Nene Nagai Kassa VIII, Honourable Mike A. Gizo, Chief of Agomeda, and President of Shai Traditional; members of the diplomatic Corps in Ghana and which included high commissioners and ambassadors, among whom are Lulu Xingwana, High Commissioner, South African High Commission in Accra – Ghana; Mr. Thomas Okyere, the Honorary Consul, Botswana Honorary Consulate in Accra – Ghana; Ambassador Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, Zimbabwe Embassy in Accra – Ghana and Mwansa S. Rowland, Deputy High Commissioner for Zambia High Commission in Accra-Ghana. The Namibian Ambassador and the Nigerian High Commissioner were also in Attendance.
The ambassadors and high commissioners were honoured with the Awards of Recognition for their outstanding roles in driving travel and tourism between their countries and West Africa.
The Chairman of the event is one of Ghana’s finest and most versatile former tourism minister, Nene Nagai Kassa VIII, Honourable Mike A. Gizo, Chief of Agomeda, and President of Shai Traditional.
In his speech, he called on stakeholders and practitioners in the travel and tourism industry in Ghana to seek progressive knowledge towards moving the industry forward by attending travel fairs, while urging them to support Accra Weizo, an ECOWAS travel fair which holds in Accra, Ghana annually.
Honourable Mike Gizo made this remark as he was concerned about the low turnout of Ghanaian tour operators and travel agents at the 3rd Accra Weizo.
“Every great tree started as a small seed. People should learn to appreciate and associate with great gestures while it is still very small or in its formative stages. We used to have the African Travel Association (ATA) based in America. For most of our events we have to travel to America. When we get to their office, all the correspondents are from America. I got worried and began to write to fellow Africans to stimulate it in Africa. But many of them were not participating. The royal father appreciated the support of the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts towards this year’s event.
“We need to encourage ourselves as Africans to develop Africa”, he said.
The winners include Leeford Quarshie, General Manager, La Villa Boutique Hotel Accra – Ghana, Hazel Gumpo, General Manager, Oak Plaza Hotel, Accra Ghana; Dr. Felix Anyah, General Manager, Holy Trinity & Spa, Accra Ghana.
The list also included Nana Dwomoh Brobbey, Chief Executive Officer, Capital View Hotel Ghana; Mr. Nicolas J. Gebara, Fund Manager, Busac Fund Ghana; Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey, Chief Executive Officer, Strategic Communications, Ghana; Mrs. Bella Ahu, Managing Director, Bella Travels Ghana; Manish Nambiar, General Manager, Kempinski Gold City Hotel Accra Ghana; Nancy Sam Quartey, Chief Executive Officer, Staples Travel & Tours, Accra Ghana; Daniel Mckorley, Chief Executive Officer, McDan Shipping Company Accra Ghana; Roman Krabel; General Manager, Accra City Hotel, Accra – Ghana, and Sajid Khan, General Manager, Tang Palace Hotel, Accra – Ghana, among several others.
Others are Dr. Michael Pinder, Managing Director, Sun Heavens Hotel & Resort, Stella Fubara – Obinwa, Director Africa International Operations of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, received the Balafon award of the Travel Personality of The Year in West Africa and also the Top 100 Tourism Personalities in West Africa.