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Northern Businessmen Urged to Invest in Tourism Industry

2006-05-08 08:06:06
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Boniface Saddique
Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, out-going Northern Regional Minister has urged Northern businessmen to take advantage of the rapid growth of the hospitality industry in the country and invest in it.

He said although investment in that sector was fraught with risk, "it is only the bold and the courageous businessmen who undertake the risk that would reap heavy returns on their investment". Alhaji Boniface was speaking at the 7th National Tourism Awards ceremony for the Northern Region in Tamale on Saturday.

He noted that the tourism industry in the North had a huge potential for growth and the ability to create employment for the youth and therefore, urged hoteliers to strive to meet international standards to attract tourists to patronise their facilities.

He said with the hosting of "CAN 2008" and the building of a modern stadium in Tamale an avenue was being opened to entrepreneurs to build more "star" hotels to accommodate the influx of visitors into the Metropolis.

Alhaji Boniface said with Ghana now positioned to serve as the gateway to Africa, a lot of international conferences would continue to be organised in the country's major cities and this would demand the provision of hotel facilities to accommodate visitors in the regions.

Mr Ebenezer Hammond, Northern Regional Manager of the Ghana Tourist Board, (GTB) reminded hotel operators that the Board had set standards for accommodation and catering services for them and anyone who violated any of these regulations was liable for prosecution. He said to maintain and improve upon standards and efficiency, the Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) had been established to offer programmes that would ensure professional competence, adding that 150 tourism industry staff from the region had just completed one of the courses.

He said the Regional Tourist Board had plans to create two botanic gardens around the lakes at Zonghangni in the Savelugu/Nanton District and Kpiri near Damongo in the West Gonja District. Plans were also afoot to establish a museum, he said, adding that the Board had already acquired land at Fou, a suburb of Tamale, for a folks village; a kind of living museum where traditional architecture and the local crafts would be produced and displayed alongside relics of the past.

He therefore, appealed to the private sector to assist in the investment and development of these tourist attractions. Mr Charles Osei Bonsu, Deputy Executive Director of the GTB in remarks made on his behalf, commended the award winners and urged them not to rest on their oars but strive to improve upon their services to perfection.

Mariam Hotel in Tamale received the prize for the "Best Two Star Hotel" with Arewa Sunshine Hotel, also in Tamale, winning the "Best One Star Hotel" award.

A-Wan Guesthouse, GILLBT Guesthouse and Bigiza Court House, all in Tamale, were adjudged "Newcomer" of the year, "Budget Hotel" of the year and "Guesthouse" of the year respectively. The award winning hotels received a plaque and a certificates of merit each.

In the restaurant category, Jag and Jay Restaurant and Mamle's Catering Services received prizes for "Grade One" and "Grade Two" respectively, while Zelia Food Complex took home the traditional chop bar award of the year. They also received plaques and certificates. The "Travel Agency of the year" was Uniglobe M and J Travel and Tour, while the "Site Guide of the Year" went to Mr Amponsah Mensah of the Mole National Park.

"Night Club of the year" was Club de Classique (Picorna Hotel), "Drinking Bar of the year" was Bacchus Inn, while GBC Radio Savanna won the "Travel Writer of the year" award.

"Tourism retailer of the year" went to Forsmuel Limited. "Mole National Park took the Visitor attraction of the year" award while the "Tourist Club of the year" went to St. Josephs JSS "A" tourist club. The Northern Portfolio Office of Netherlands Development Organisation and Antrak Air jointly took the "Outstanding service to tourism development and promotion" award.

They earned a plaque and a certificate of merit each in appreciation of their contribution to tourism development in the Northern Region. 07 May 06


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