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15.01.2007 General News

81% of Hotel rooms in Accra fully booked

By Ababio, Akwasi
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The Ghana Tourists Board (GTB) on Sunday disclosed that 81 per cent of three and two star hotels in Accra are fully booked for the Golden Jubilee commemoration.

GTB statistics made available to the Ghana News Agency indicated that individual bookings constitute 32 per cent; Corporate entities, 23 per cent; Local Travel and Tour Agencies, 15 per cent; Embassy and High Commissions, 15 per cent; Governmental Agencies, nine per cent and other Airlines and Non-Governmental Organisations, six per cent. The figures also revealed that United State of America tops the list of countries whose nationals have booked to attend the Golden Jubilee celebration, followed by Nigeria, United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany, Togo, India, Canada and Liberia.

The hotels include Sun Lodge, El-Elyon, Mahogany Lodge, Kordam, Long Term, Ellking, Maple Leaf, Granada, Continental Plaza, Penta, Paloma, Kingsby, Court Gardens, Frankies, Earlbeam, Crown Apartment, The Guest and Ampomaah.

In an interview with GNA, Mr Martin Mireku, GTB Acting Executive Director said the Board initiated a comprehensive orientation for stakeholders in the hospitality industry to enhance their operations to project Ghana as a tourist's destination.

Mr Mireku advised service providers in the catering sector to take up the challenge the Golden Jubilee celebration offers and improve upon food handling, packaging and presentations with particular focus on Ghanaian cuisines.

He advised the staff to co-operate with their customers and offer them the requisite services to attract more tourists to the country. On preparation towards the Golden Jubilee festivities, Mr Mireku said the outfit had designed special jubilee leaflets, brochure and pamphlets on Ghana to provide tourists with information on various attractions sites in the country.

Information on status of hotels, restaurants, licensed tours and tour operators, entertainment centres, shopping venues, the use of cameras at restricted areas such as the Osu Castle, military installations and airports have been provided.

The information brochure also outlined in detail transportation - taxis recognised by their bright yellow fenders, which operate from city centres to suburbs, less expensive but adventure filled mini buses (trotro), the Sate Transport Corporation and licensed car rental services. More

Mr Mireku said: "We are also making available at designated centres across the country a tourist map, which captures the various cultural, natural resources and entertainment, it depicts festivals and dancing forms across the length and breadth of the country.

This brochure aimed to assist first time visitors to discover and explore the country on their own with little or no assistant and to make travelling to and within the country easy.

A special feature of the new map is a guide map of the Central Business District of Accra to help tourists find their ways easily through Accra, visit Embassies and High Commissions, Airline Offices and other places of interest without having to depend on a guide. Mr Mireku noted the demand for the consumption of tourism materials is getting higher and urged the private sector to collaborate with the Board for the production of tourist materials.

He however, asked producers of tourism materials to seek guidance from the Board in their production. This, he said, was essential to ensure that only accurate information was provided.

"Any wrong information given to the public will have negative impact on our promotional efforts," he said.

Mr Mireku asked the private sector to invest in the provision of decent rest stops along the country's highways and in facilities such as camps, tents, mountain bikes, eco-lodges to boost tourist inflow into the rural communities.

On patronage of hotels by prostitutes and other social misfit, the Acting GTB Director said the Board had been working with the Police and hoteliers to deal with immoral acts in the hotels. He debunked the notion that hotels were places for immoral practices.

He said the Board, in collaboration with the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and other stakeholders would organise periodic courses to train hoteliers on how to deal with immoral acts that were usually identified with hotels.

He called on hotel operators and employees in hotels to alert the Police whenever they suspected any immoral activities going on in their hotels.

Mr Mireku explained that under the law, the hotel management must keep records of all clients who use their facilities for the approved purposes of accommodation, catering, conferences and fitness centres. 14 Jan. 07

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