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17.01.2007 General News

Golden Jubilee Celebration , 503 Hotel Rooms Booked

By Daily Graphic
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The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) on Sunday disclosed that 81 per cent of rooms in 16 hotels in Accra have been fully booked for the Golden Jubilee celebration.

Statistics made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said there were 624 rooms that were surveyed.

It indicated that out of the 81 per cent or 503 fully booked rooms, individual bookings constituted 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 (NGO), six per cent.

The figures also revealed that the United States of America topped the list of countries whose nationals had booked to attend the Golden Jubilee celebrations, followed by Nigeria, the 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 the GNA, Mr Martin Mireku,the GTB acting Executive Director, said the board had initiated a comprehensive orientation for stakeholders in the hospitality industry to enhance their operations to project Ghana as a tourist destination.

Mr Mireku advised service providers in the catering sector to take up the opportunities of the period and improve upon food handling, packaging and presentation of foods, particularly Ghanaian cuisines.

He advised the staff of the hospitality industry to co-operate with customers and offer the requisite services to attract more tourists to the country.

On preparations for the Golden Jubilee festivities, Mr Mireku said the GTB had designed special jubilee brochures on Ghana to provide information on various tourist sites.

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

The information on transportation - the easy recognition of taxis by their bright yellow fenders, the less expensive but adventure filled mini buses (trotros), the STC Inter City Buses and licensed car rental services had also been provided.

"We are also making available at designated centres across the country tourist maps which capture the varied and interesting cultural and traditional areas,” Mr Mireku said.

A special feature of the new map is a guide map of the Central Business District of Accra to help tourists to easily find their way about without having to depend on a guide.

Mr Mireku noted the demand for materials on tourism, and urged the private sector to collaborate with the board for the production of such materials.

He, however, asked producers of such materials to seek guidance from the board, as that was essential to ensure the provision of accurate information.

"Any wrong information given to the public will have a 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 also facilities such as camps, tents, mountain bikes and eco-lodges to boost tourist inflow into the rural communities.

On the issue of patronage of hotels by prostitutes and other social misfits, he said the board had been working with the Police and hoteliers to deal with that and debunked the notion that hotels were places for immoral practices.

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 as fitness centres.

Meanwhile, the Research Manager of GTB, Mr Martin Twum, explaining the statistics on the operational rooms, said it was the result of an exercise called the Hotel Reservation Monitor that was done monthly.

He said subsequent surveys would incorporate other regions. — GNA

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