Accra, March 31, GNA- Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City on Wednesday launched the first Gastronomy Fair organized by the Hotel, Catering and International Management Association (HCIMA).
It has the theme: "Promoting cultural exchange through food fair" in Accra.
He said food was a major tourism product and it was important that people in the hospitality industry taught people how to serve the local food in an appetizing way, adding "packaging our food in an attractive way will attract a lot of tourist to taste the delicious African food".
Gastronomy fair gives professionals in the hospitality industry from different background a platform to exhibit assorted local dishes
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said the Ministry of Tourism was determined to work together with neighbouring countries to enable the tourism industry grow to expectation.
He said Africa now had attracted only six percent of tourists in the world and "we should work hard to double this percentage in five years time through the organization of such fairs".
The Minister congratulated HCIMA for organizing the programme, saying, " what you are doing is of vital importance to the tourism industry".
Mr Souji Quam Valentin, Acting president of HCIMA, Togo, said, the West African sub-region had a lot to share with tourists in the world.
"We cause a lot of damage when we import food from other countries, we have many agricultural, fishing and hunting products to garnish our local dishes" he added.
Ms Julia Acquaah, President of HCIMA, Ghana, said the purpose of the Fair was to identify, promote and maintain the highest professional standards for management, education and training in the international hospitality industry.
She said the fair, which, would be held from May 21 to 23 this year would help professionals to exchange cuisine ideas.
"It will also help members to develop and maintain their knowledge, skills and ability through continuing professional development" she held.
Ms Acquaah said the fair would provide an interface between Ghanaian and Togolese industries.
Mr Joseph Nyarko, president of Ghana Association of Tour Operators (GHATOP) pledged his organization's support for the programme.
Ghana will host the fair next year.