He was speaking to the B&FT during a familiarisation trip organised by the airline for selected travel and tour agencies to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya.
Ghana recorded US$2.1billion in tourism receipts for 2014, with the country’s National Tourism Development Plan 2013-2027 projecting tourism receipts of US$4.3billion in 2027.
The UNWTO estimates that there are about 60 million tourists coming into Africa annually. The number of tourist arrivals is also projected to increase in the coming years, after containment of the Ebola epidemic that broke out in the West Africa sub-region last year.
This requires sustained spending to upgrade on-ground infrastructure, and the creation of an enabling environment to attract more private capital into the hospitality sector. It also presents an enormous opportunity to the aviation sector on the continent.
Poor inter-country infrastructure on the African continent, for decades, has limited economic development and tourism.
Indeed, these have for many years limited intra-Africa trade -- with AU member-countries trading more with their European and Americas counterparts than member-states.
According to Africa Economic Outlook 2015, Intra-African trade is growing mostly within sub-regions. From 2010 to 2013 intra-African export grew by 50%; and by another 11.5% in 2013 to US$61.4billion.
However, the share of exports between African sub-regions only increased from 11.3% in 2012 to 12.8% in 2013.
“Kenya as a destination has built up tourism infrastructure, including a new airport. So we wanted to find the way of letting people know that these things exit. We also wanted to show the agencies the new facilities which Kenya as a destination and Kenya Airways have.
“With the Ghanaian market, we have always had a special relationship with travellers. We have special routes for traders and we are trying to expand that. We are also trying as much as possible to engage the traders even more.
“We have come out with our wonderful project called the ‘KQ Hot Deal’ wherein we are encouraging more and more people to book early, especially our corporate clients, so that they can save on cost and make more profit.”
The Ghana Museum and Monuments Board lists Forts and Castles along the coast of Ghana from Beyin in the Western Region to Keta in the Volta Region, including those in ruins, and the ten remaining Asante Traditional Buildings in and around Kumasi in the Ashanti Region as UNESCO Listed World Heritage Properties in Ghana.
Six other sites are also on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Properties. These include the Kakum National Park, Mole National Park, Navrongo Catholic Cathedral, Nzulezu Stilt Settlement, the Tengzug-Tallensi settlements, and Trade Pilgrimage Routes of North-Western Ghana.
“Tourism is one of the key foundations of Kenya’s economy. Kenya Airways’ key role is to continue giving good service, so we can bring people from the world over to experience the rich heritage of Africa. We just started flights to Hanoi from Accra, and there are plans to add more routes.
“For our corporate clients, the visit was important as it’s not the same reading about something and selling it compared to experiencing it first-hand. When you have experienced the thing, then it makes selling easier. Now they have experienced the destinations for themselves and they will be able to market them to their clients,” Mr. Safo said.