50 events endorsed so far for ‘December in GH’
He said out of 83 event proposals received by the “Beyond the Return” Secretariat, 50 have been endorsed.
However, this does not mean that the other 32 would not have the events organized, but only that the ‘Beyond the Return’ stamp would not be on it.
“All the 50 endorsed events have been formally informed, and currently we are finalizing the process for publication. We are also still receiving events and we welcome an event idea or initiative, even though we have shut the door for proposals.”
Mr Agyeman made this known at a stakeholder’s engagement to discuss the preparedness towards the activities and to look at areas of collaboration and cooperation of the different organisations.
He said since the introduction of the Events in 2019, it had become central to the concept of ‘Beyond the Return’, and the tourism industry as a whole.
He said the call for proposals was opened somewhere in July after which those received were submitted to the steering committee and the sub-committee for review.
The committee reviewed the events looking at the preparedness of event organizers, and its alignment with the whole concept of the Return and the “December in GH” Events.
The GTA CEO noted that the committee ensured that some of the events would happen across the country based on feedback from previous events, which showed Accra dominated the events.
He said the Authority was hoping to set up a welcome booth at the airport to allow people to scan the ‘Beyond the Return’ bar code and have the events, venues, and prices.
“We are working with some operators on charter flights because the scheduled airlines have all been booked. There are talks and we have licensed a few operators who want to bring in charter flights and if this is achieved it would help drive people to the Destination.”
Mr Agyeman appealed to event organizers to provide the prices of their events as well as all protocols involved to the Secretariat and ensure to maintain standards in their operations during the events, to attract more tourists to boost the country’s tourist receipts.
“As a collective body, we would be able to put our best foot forward to work to promote Ghana and make sure that people who come in become ambassadors for the country.”
Mr Nadel Majdoub, Head of the Protection Department, National Security, said security before, during and after was key to the successful organisation of the Events, especially with issues of terrorism almost at our doorstep.
He said the security agencies needed to be informed about all arrival schedules, hotels for guests, event venues and times and departure schedules, among others.
“We must be informed about all arrival schedules from the diaspora, to be able to receive them and send them safely to their hotels and extend protection to them. The event venues and time must also be made available to deploy personnel and do some electronic or manual sniffing to ensure security ahead of time.”
Mr Majdoub said there was also the need to be informed about guests who need close protection, to assign personnel to guard them as well as those who require an escort to travel across the county
Mr Ben Anane Nsiah, Deputy Chief Executive, General Services, GTA, said the meeting was a destination-wide engagement to make Ghana the destination come to in December, and it was important for stakeholders to ensure to give people the required experience.
He said the Authority was still reaching out to the hospitality establishments to engage and train them to be more professional during the period as well as a consistent effort to upgrade tourist sites to engage the interest of visitors.
Mr Anane Nsiah said, “we do not want “December in GH” to be a December in Accra, and so we have had engagement we various events organizers outside Accra to give the visitor a comprehensive enhancing experience of the whole country.”
“As a country, we have certain targets to meet, and the last quarter of the year is important in making us reach the numbers we want. So, we need stakeholders to provide the information to be able to put all necessary things in place.”
Ms Anabel Makenzy urged event organizers to ensure their tickets were available to be purchased online, as the main target was to attract global Ghanaians in the diaspora.
She encouraged organizers to pay their vendors at the end of the event and ensure that all contracts with other stakeholders were officially signed.