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Air Peace boss, NCAC DG, others up for Balafon Award as Accra Weizo beckons

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Collins Udolu of Accra Weizo (left), Bella Ahu, GHATOF President; and Adomako Mensah, Ag DED, Ghana Tourism Authority during the of unveiling Accra Weizo 2019

African Travel Quarterly (ATQ) has released the list of winners of the prestigious Balafon Awards to be recognised at this year’s West African tourism and travel fair, Accra Weizo, billed for June 28 and 29, in Accra, Ghana. The award winners are the best performers in the industry chosen by the publishers of Atqnews.com.

Balafon award of excellence is a yearly awards organised to recognise pioneers and best players in the industry for the ECOWAS region.

For this year, Atqnews.com is using Balafon awards to draw attentions to the best conference centres in West Africa.

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In 2017, it hosted the awards for ‘Top 100 Tourism personalities in West Africa’ and at the 2018 edition it hosted the ‘Top 100 Hotels in West Africa’. Through the award, atqnews.com seeks to position in positive light the leading conference centres in the sub-region. The winners were selected via nominations on atqnewsawards@gmail.com, which ended on June 3.

The 5th Accra Weizo 2019 is organised by Akwaaba Travel Market in partnership with Ghana Tourism Authority. Under the theme, Seamless travel is West Africa, this year’s edition is expected to bring travel and tourism professionals from across the West Africa region. It would be recalled that last year, at the World Travel Market in London, Ghana Tourism Authority signed a 5-year MOU with the Organisers of Accra Weizo. The MOU is to jointly organise the Tourism Expo with the owners Akwaaba Travel Market. Accra Weizo has been organised in Ghana for four years now.

Ghana is the leading Meetings Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination in West Africa and ranks number one on ICCA ratings. Hosting Accra Weizo reinforces the positioning of Accra for MICE and Ghana for Tourism.

Already, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) together with its stakeholders has launched the 2019 edition of the Women in Tourism Summit and the Accra Weizo Fair, in Accra. The summit on the theme Empowering women in Ghana’s Tourism Industry is scheduled for June 27.

Mr Isaac Adomako–Mensah, Deputy Executive Director, Finance and Administration, GTA, said both the summit and fair have become part of the major events to promote tourism in the country since their inception.

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He said the fair was geared towards getting West Africans to cooperate with each other, and is aimed at creating a seamless travel environment in West Africa by bringing together travel professionals to Accra.

He informed that the GTA would host delegates coming from nations in the East, West and Southern Africa to a three-day familiarisation tour from June 25 till 27.

“The delegates will take a tour of the Greater Accra, Western and Central regions. Places of visit would include Nzulezu, Ankasa Conservation Area, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Secondi European Town, and the Cape Coast Castle,” he said.

Adomako–Mensah noted that the tour programme drawn for participants is in tandem with the Authority’s domestic tourism campaign of Eat, Feel, See, and Wear Ghana. He congratulated the leaderships of both events, expressing the hope that both events in the long run would accelerate the development of tourism in Ghana and West Africa.

Collins Udolu of Accra Weizo, said the fair had come this far after its inception five years ago, solely by the work of the dedicated team with support of stakeholders looking to enhance the business and tourism environment across Africa.

He said the event has grown to become an event found in every arena of tour operations in West Africa, and has helped change the narrative of West Africa by collaborating and easing business in tourism and aviation.

“This year, the event would have speakers from Ghana, Nigeria, Dubai, and Uganda.”

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President, Ghana Tourism Federation, Mrs Bella Ahu, congratulated the organisers of both events, saying empowering women in tourism was long overdue, and the summit had come at an appropriate time when women empowerment was on the increase in the industry.  

“Five years in the life of every organisation needs to be celebrated, and we believe that participants would take the opportunity to see, eat, feel and wear Ghana.”

Ghana has declared 2019 the year of return in commemoration of 400years of slavery. It has since hosted many events to mark the year. Accra Weizo will be one of the international events listed for 2019.

The list of winners for 2019 Balafon Award include Travel Personality of the Year in West Africa – Chief Allen Onyema of Air Peace; Tourism Man of the Year in West Africa- Otunba Segun Runsewe, DG, National Council For Art and Culture; Aviation Man of the Year in West Africa – Captain Solomon Quianoo; Hotel Personality of the Year in West Africa -Amaechi Ndili of Golden Tulip West Africa; Best Airline in West Africa – African World Airline (AWA); Best Hotel in West Africa – Kempinski Goldcity Hotel; Best Airport in West Africa (for government agencies) –Kotoka International Airport, Ghana; Best Ground Handling Company in West Africa – Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL) and others.


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