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World Tourism Day Statement By TOUGHA

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Ghana will on September 27th, 2018 join the rest of the world in celebrating World Tourism Day, a day set aside by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to raise awareness on tourism’s actual and potential contribution to sustainable development.

Anchored on the theme “Tourism and the Digital Transformation,” this year’s event will help to put the opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development.

The UNWTO sees digital advances and innovation as part of the solution to the challenge of marrying continued growth with a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.

While the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) recognises the risk of data privacy that comes with digital era, there are enormous opportunities in the sector that could be driven by digitization.

Thanks to technology, travelling today is reasonable affordable, accessible and convenient than ever before. All it takes is a touch of a button and split seconds to plan and book trips.

Digital platforms including, mobile devices, social media and accessible information enable destination marketers to engage with consumers and stakeholders on a larger scale than ever before.

The travel industry has been at the vanguard of digital innovation and continues to be transformed at an exponential rate globally.

Statistics from the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI), indicates that from 2016 to 2025, digitalisation in aviation, travel and tourism is expected to create up to US$305 billion of value for the industry through increased profitability, migrate US$100 billion of value from traditional players to new competitors, and generate benefits valued at US$700 billion for customers and the wider society.

Digitalisation has left no segment of the travel ecosystem untouched. “Technology pervades every area of tourism and must be given the highest priority when developing the workforce for the industry,” said a 2016 report from the United Nations World Travel Organization.

Even more interesting, as the world grapple with job losses because of rapid deployment of technology, the tourism sector is arguably the only sector that technology use would not lead to job cuts because the industry thrives on human to human touch to service delivery. According to the report, 52 % of smartphones in the world are owned in Asia Pacific, and social media is becoming a customer service improvement tool for hospitality groups.

But in Ghana, these gains may be lost on us without a deliberate and consistent effort to bridge the digital gap.

Statistics from the National Communications Authority (NCA) at the end of July, 2018 indicates that mobile voice subscriptions in Ghana had reached a little over 40 million, representing 137.35% penetration rate. Internet penetration on the other hand stands at a little over 22 million, representing a penetration rate of 75.54%.

While these numbers may be commendable, the sad reality is that these numbers are concentrated in urban environment where telecom infrastructure tends to be better, leaving out rural dwellers.

Ironically, the reality is that most of our tourism offerings are located in rural areas but they are those most disconnected from even basic internet services which are now a key driver for the industry today.

As we aspire for a tourism sector that is inclusive and sustainable, technology will play a key role, especially with a thriving sharing economy of the Ubers, Airbnbs and Tripadvisors of our world today.

Travel is fundamentally about linking people and places. Leveraging technology such as near-universal high-speed internet connectivity, search and geolocation technologies, mobile payments and social platforms are shaping today’s travel and tourism.

“TOUGHA, therefore, calls on the government to provide the needed incentives to the private sector and where necessary crack the whip to ensure that all parts of the country are connected and digitally smart. Each positive photo posted on social media from any tourist site, however, remote counts as a marketing tool. Each payment made via mobile money to a food vendor is building the industry. We can’t afford to lose out,” the President of TOUGHA, Kwesi Eyison, said.

He said bridging the country’s digital divide would cater for the unmet needs of today’s unconventional tourist.

TOUGHA also commends the government for staying on track to complete the Terminal 3 project at the Kotoka International Airport.

“With the Terminal 3 receiving great reviews in tourism circles around the world, it is also important to modernise some of the operations at the airport.

“We have options to either scrap the existing departure and arrival forms or introduce a self-scan system as pertains in most technologically-savvy airports across the world rather than get stuck with the filling of those forms,” Mr Eyison said.

International travel is increasingly driven by cross-border collaboration between governments and the private sector.

While applauding the government for maintaining the Visa on Arrival policy started on July 1, 2016, TOUGHA believes that it is very important for the government to ride on the applause Ghana is receiving at international tourism gatherings across the continent to begin issuing e-visas.

The ease of e-visas has a lot to contribute to the growth of tourism in Ghana and we can’t look further than Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia to see the impact on arrivals in-bound numbers.

Signed

Kwesi Eyison

President, TOUGHA

(+233208165266)

About TOUGHA

The Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) is the umbrella body for all Licensed Tour Operators in Ghana. It was established in 2000. TOUGHA has a current total membership of 12,806 members drawn from close to eighty different firms.

Established with the goal to influencing tourism legislations and creating an enabling environment for growth and development of tourism in the country, TOUGHA currently affiliated to the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) as well as the International Tourism Federation in addition to other sub-regional Tourism Associations.

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Ohemaa Mercy Out With ‘His Glory’, This Friday, June 25

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Ahead of the unveiling of her concert, ‘Tehillah’, Ohemaa Mercy Ministries and Soul Brother Records have readied the new single for award-winning gospel minstrel, Ohemaa Mercy.

‘His Glory’ comes after the impressive showing of her previous single, ‘He Lives In Me’ which featured VGMA ‘Male Vocalist of the Year, MOG Music.

The song garnered massive recognition across the country, an ode to the influence of Ohemaa Mercy, considering the fact that, she’s been away from active music production for a while.

Produced by Shadrack Yawson, also known as Sha’, ‘His Glory’, has Ohemaa Mercy sing about the magnificence of God.

Sang in both English and the local language, Twi, Ohemaa belts out her quintessential notes to offer glory to God.

The new single will be released on all digital platforms tomorrow, Friday, June 25, 2021.

Ohemaa Mercy, with a career spanning a period of almost 20 years, has released six (6) albums, starting from 2004. She has won multiple awards and has shared the stage with renowned international artistes such as Andrae Crouch, Israel Houghton, Don Moen, Darwin Hobbs, Juanita Bynum, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond among others.

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VGMA: A Decade Of Empowering Artistes And Transforming The Music Industry

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When telecommunication giant, Vodafone Ghana took over as the title sponsor of the Ghana Music Awards, observers as well as industry people were not sure how long the union would last

However, given that the union is in its 10th year, it is safe to say the mutual respect between Vodafone Ghana and organisers of the Ghana Music Awards, Charterhouse has waxed stronger yielding many fruits for the partners, Ghanaian musicians and the entertainment industry at large.

Vodafone has delicately nurtured the union and fulfilled its financial obligations for the yearly VGMAs to celebrate deserving Ghanaian and African musicians.

Since assuming the reigns of the VGMAs, the awards celebration has been characterized by innovation, creative concepts and unique programmes designed to empower Ghanaian artistes, enhance their craft and project them onto the world stage.

From Vodafone powering seminars where professionals with requisite knowledge share insights for the artistes to make compelling music, get abreast with technical side of the business such as royalties, copyright and protocols for sampling to general investment tips to avoid squandering wealth, it’s clear the telco giant is keen for artiste empowerment which is integral for the transformation of the music industry.

National Dialogue On Music     

One of such initiatives is the VGMA Music Summit, which has become one of highlights of the celebrations. The Summit forms part of efforts to foster a national broad-based conversation towards the growth of the local industry. It is a stakeholder engagement, drawing on musicians, managers, music producers, distributors, promoters and others. With Ghana’s music industry still facing the phenomenon of artistes unable to fully commercially live off their craft because of a poor ecosystem, discussions focused on the route to redemption. A communique which captures the insights and recommendation is presented to the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts.

Bridging The Music Gap

In bridging the gap that exists between the art and academia, the organizers created the VGMA in Schools project. The project seeks to work with schools, offering students interested in a career in music, an opportunity to dialogue with professionals. Artistes including Camidoh, Epixode and Kuami Eugene are some artistes who have mounted the entertainment stages of various Senior High Schools, performing and engaging the animated students.

Rewarding Music With Purpose

Vodafone has also demonstrated commitment to supporting music with real dept and purpose. The telco introduced the Green Awards to celebrate artistes contributing and using music to drive awareness of the need to save the environment. This is in line with the Telco’s purpose-led agenda to promote a sustainable music industry, the company sought to significantly help minimise the insidious impact of the VGMA despite inevitable ecological footprints being left behind at its large music events. A number of eco-friendly initiatives including properly recycling plastics from the tonnes of waste the event produces and promoting e-ticketing were some of the initiatives introduced ahead of the pandemic.

Red Lounge Experience

Besides the glitz and glam of the red-carpet reception and awards ceremony, one key aspect of the celebration that patrons anticipate each year is Vodafone’s Red Lounge. The Red Lounge is a unique display set-up at the foyer of the event venue which provides a rich experience for all customers and stakeholders. The set-up also provides an opportunity for patrons of the event to interact with artistes on a personal level before the show begins and party continues after the show.
 
A Strong Online Presence For Artistes

Continuously committed to bringing value to Ghana’s music space, Vodafone Ghana has availed its new creation ‘Your Business Online’ to enable musicians and industry players to own a personal website. Designed by Vodafone Business, the platform provides all the elements required to build a special brand and grow one’s business online. The platform will create a digital space for artists and industry players to promote their works online. With as little as GHC99, experts will design, build and maintain your online presence – tailoring it exactly how artistes want it and helping them reach a much wider customer base.

The VGMA22, slated for June 25 and 26, 2021 sees Adina, KiDi, Diana Hamilton, Kuami Eugene, Medikal and Sarkodie battle it out for the Artiste of the Year   category.


From 2011 since Vodafone Ghana became title sponsor, the Artiste of the Year trophy has been lifted by VIP (2011) – Hiplife, Sarkodie (2012) – Hiplife/Hiphop, R2Bees (2013) – Hiplife/Highlife/Hiphop, Shatta Wale (2014) – Reggae/Dancehall, Stonebwoy (2015) – Reggae/Dancehall, EL (2016) – Hiplife/Hiphop, Joe Mettle (2017) – Gospel, Ebony (2018) – Dancehall/Afropop, No winner (2019) and Kuami Eugene (2020) – Highlife.

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Ghanaian Media Maven Peace Hyde Announced As Creator For Netflix’s First Africa Reality TV Series

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Multiple award-winning Media Maven, Peace Hyde, has added another remarkable feat to her already impressive list of accomplishments by being the Creator and Executive Producer of the first ever African Netflix Reality series, Young, Famous and African.

The British/Ghanaian who is a highly celebrated TV Host, Creator, Journalist, entrepreneur and Activist also serves as executive producer on the biggest reality TV show to hit the African continent. According to the stars who revealed their series tagline on their Instagram accounts today, the show promises to be an exciting access into the popular world of some of Africa’s top celebrities.

The Pan African super stars of the show include Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania, Annie Macaulay Idibia from Nigeria, Swanky Jerry from Nigeria and south African superstars Nadia Nakai, Khanyi Mbau, Andile Ncube and Naked DJ alongside an array of entertainment heavyweights.

Peace Hyde who started her media career in Ghana as the host of Friday Night Live on GH One and MTN Hitmaker has quickly risen to become one of Africa’s most successful media exports globally by creating and producing groundbreaking hit shows like the two leading flagship talk shows, Forbes Africa’s My Worst Day with Peace Hyde (3 seasons), the only show that speaks to Africa’s billionaires and Forbes Woman Africa’s Against the Odds (2 seasons) on the CNBC Africa channel on DSTV.

Named by CNN as Ghana’s media maven, Hyde’s work has been featured on CNN, Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, Ebony, Fox News and many more. She was named to the United Nations Most Influential People of African Decent list 2018, 2019 and 2020 named as one of the 100 most influential young people in Africa.

The show is set for a global release to 190 countries and over 200 million subscribers.

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