All travel agents, tour operators, hospitality industry suppliers, Aviation industry managers,  who are keenly working strategically along the value chain of the tourism industry in Ghana and Africa, have been urged to join the Africa Tour Operators Alliance ( ATOA).

This is an organization established in Ghana ostensibly to create a united platform for a bigger voice and network in the tourism industry in Ghana and ultimately in the African continent. 

At the launch of the organization in Accra on Friday, 9th July, 2021, industry players who graced the occasion, enumerated the benefits members of the Alliance would stand to gain when operations begin to take shape.

Executive Director of ATOA, Lady Vera Metzler-Hinson, in her introductory speech, touched on the vision of the ATOA as well as various programs and projects being undertaken by the Alliance to inspire  players in tourism industry in Ghana and beyond the shores of the country to aspire for greater heights. 

She appealed to Travel and Tour Agencies in Ghana and Africa to join the organization for the collective experience and benefits members would share as they continue to play their respective roles to drive tourism development in Africa. 

Radia Adama Saani,  Head of Corporate Affairs of ATOA in an address, catalogued a number of opportunities members of ATOA would gain through partnership in the wholesale of tour packages.

She explained that effective collaboration through partnerships, acceptable synergies with neighboring countries, and the quest to champion the common interest of members, strategically formed the core values and principal circumstances surrounding the establishment of the organization to drive tourism growth in Ghana and across Africa. 

The Corporate Affairs Manager of Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) Jones Nelson touched on the essence of facilitating Regional and Domestic Tourism Through Alliances. 

According to him,  the tourism industry provides enormous opportunities and therefore ought to be embraced  by industry players with beautiful initiatives to widen the scope of its contribution to national development and the economy of the country. He stressed that, travel and tour operators are the life-wire of the tourism and aviation industry and therefore the need for financial support to boast the sector's growth.

The Technical Head of ATOA, Gideon Asare used the platform created to highlight major activities currently being undertaken by the organization. 

He said capacity building through periodic trainings and effective team work, driving the African agenda through Tourism,  leveraging  individual strengths into useful partnerships would translate the collective effort of industry players into results oriented gains for the benefit of all members and the continent. 

Again, he said the intention and purpose for establishment of the organization,  was primarily to unleash the potential of the tourism industry in Africa to provide avenue for challenges bedeviling African Tour Operators.

This, he underscored, could be done through the setting up of management schemes, technical assistance and administrative guidance from experienced professionals to up and coming industry players. 

The Events Organiser of ATOA, Michael Ako Nai unveiled a new tourism product in the market ' Accra Night City Tour' encouraging members to participate in experiencing the tour organised by ATOA in order to promote it as an additional domestic tour product in the Ghanaian market.

Representatives of Asky Airline and Air Cote D'Ivoire graced the occasion, and pledged their commitment to support activities of the organization as they open up for new partnerships  and collaborations in the Tourism industry. 

A representative of Volta Hotel and the Labadi Beach Hotel also addressed the gathering and justified the significant role industry players must play to improve the fortunes of hospitality experience in the country and expressed the burning desire of the Hotels in collaborating with ATOA to increase productivity in the sector. 

The Executive Director of Journalists For Tourism Advocacy (JTA) Zambaga Rufai Saminu announced the relationship JTA intends to build with ATOA as an anchor or vehicle to drive the promotion and protection of tourism through the media.

Celebrated media practitioner, tourism ambassador, and Chief Executive Officer of KAYA tours Aggrey Abeiku Santaana who was the Master of Ceremony (MC) used the platform to share his experience in the tourism industry, the challenges impeding progress and what ought to be done to fix these challenges. 

One of these challenges, he  revealed which was hurting the industry badly was the issue of trust and betrayal among industry players.  This problem,  he noted could be addressed through ATOA.

He also appealed to central government to pay serious attention to the tourism industry with adequate investment. 

Consequently, he said Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and other notable bodies in charge of managing the fortunes of the industry,  must channel resources into the right institutions and stop throwing money at people who do not actually contribute to the development, sustenance and growth of Ghana's Tour industry. 

The launch of the umbrella organization to champion the common interest of tour operators and tourism industry players was described generally as successful by Emmanuel Frimpong, a representative of The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) following the impressive attendance, the heart warming messages delivered and the cooperation secured by key industry players, in positioning ATOA as a strong and strategic voice in the tourism industry in Africa .


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