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16.11.2005 Travel & Tourism

Food is effective tourism promoter

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Accra, Nov. 16, GNA - Local food has become the number one motivating factor in choosing a tourism destination, Ms Adelaide Owusu Agyakwa, President of the Hotel and Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), said on Wednesday and urged the Tourism Ministry to incorporate food fairs into the country's tourism activities schedule. She said some people's primary reason for travelling was to experience local food and drink, saying that food tourism was among the hottest trends in global tourism marketing.

Research by the world Travel Market in the United Kingdom with 2,000 people revealed that about 53 per cent ranked eating traditional dishes very important and 86 per cent of British holiday makers quizzed said they enjoyed local foods when abroad.

Ms Agyakwa was speaking at the launch of the first HCIMA week, aimed at promoting local dishes as a means to attract tourists. It was important to brand Ghanaian food as it could market the country's struggling tourism industry with an effective branding as a marketing tool.

The week-long celebration on the theme: "Food as a tool for marketing tourism" would highlight topics on food poisoning, a dinner awards night and an ethnic food fair would also be organized and be climaxed with a thanksgiving service on November 27.

Ms Agyakwa said food tourism was an important new niche that fostered economic and community development noting that Ghana was uniquely positioned to lead in the development of food tourism in Africa.

"When you come back from two weeks of visiting museums and churches and historical monuments, you can't remember one from the other but you can certainly recall the last great meal you had when you were travelling," she said.

Ms Agyakwa held the opinion that a vast majority of visitors to many restaurants as well as international tourists would want to taste uniquely Ghanaian food and urged restaurant owners to tell the tale behind the food people ate.

She explained that it was the tale behind a particular dish that made the difference and advised chefs to make their dishes unique and memorable.

Mr Yaw Twum Lucas, Chief Executive Officer of Bronzzetti Management Consult, a tourism firm, expressed concern about the way local dishes were packaged and called on traditional caterers to learn to package local dishes well.

He urged the media to help the food industry by publishing positive messages about local dishes, saying there was the need for proper management of information about the local food industry. 16 Nov. 05

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