Photos: Odweanoma Paragliding Field Commissioned, Jake & Ferdinand Busts Unveiled

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A ceremony has been held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and its agencies at the Odweanoma Paragliding field to commission the upgraded paragliding field at Kwahu Atibie in the Eastern Region. The Paragliding Field has been improved into a model event ground suitable for any recreational activity of any kind. These include the construction of a new entrance post, fencing of the event grounds, paving of the entire area, construction of an enclosed VIP catering area, resurfacing of viewing partition among others.

 

 

 

The busts of two noblemen who supported immensely in the development and growth of the sport in Ghana, Hon. Jake Otanka Obetsebi- Lamptey and Mr. Ferdinand Ayim, his Special Assistant, was also unveiled in honour of their hard work, dedication and visionary leadership in the development of Paragliding in Ghana.

 

Furthermore, the Kwahu Professional Network (KPN) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and its allied agencies launched the Second edition of “Yɛnkɔ” Kwahu, under the theme; Our home, Our strength, Our heritage as part of the activities to promote domestic tourism.

 

 

The event saw the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Mrs. Barbara Oteng- Gyasi, and her able deputy Minister, Alhaji Dr. Ziblim Barri Iddi, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Samuel Aryertey and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. John Yaw Agbeko, the Board of Directors of GTA, led by Madam Adelaide Ahwireng and the CEO of GTA, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman. Other dignitaries include the DCE’s for Kwahu West and East, Hon. Emmanuel Atta Ofori Snr, and Hon. Isaac Agyepong, other heads of agencies of the Ministry of Tourism, and their staff.
The Traditional Authorities were led by the Mpraesohene and Benkumhene of Kwahuman, Nana Ampadu Daduam II, and Barima Kwame Asante Bediade II, Kwahuman Gyasehene and Atibiehene as well as the family of Mr. Ferdinand Ayim.

‘Beyond The Return’ Officially Accepting New Proposals For 2020 Events

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19TH SEPTEMBER, 2020

ACCRA, GHANA

‘Beyond the Return’ has announced that event proposals are being accepted for programs taking place from September through December 2020.  After last year’s successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign which included programs, events and festivals, there have been many requests for ‘Beyond the Return’ to have a platform to continue in these activities and provide new ways for the diaspora to continue to connect with Ghanaians through event programs.

“I’m really looking forward to the events this year.  Especially the ones that will give back to Ghana through initiatives that seek to serve the local communities like the commissioning of boreholes we saw last year. It will be great to see more events that highlight Ghana’s culture as part of ‘Beyond the Return’ because it will expose diasporans to the diversity and richness of Ghana’s culture and heritage,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the Beyond the Return Secretariat.

Event proposals are officially being accepted digitally and a separate form must be filled out for each event using the ‘Beyond the Return 2020 Events Submission Forms’ available at www.beyondthereturngh.com.  Hard copy submissions will not be accepted.  Event organisers should prepare to explain how their programs fit into the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative and its ability to include both the diaspora and local Ghanaian communities.

‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year initiative with the theme ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’ and its foundation is built on seven pillars: Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back to Ghana and Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation. Each of the pillars is important because it represents an area that ‘Year of Return’ received feedback from the diaspora and the local Ghanaian community on ways to strengthen engagement between our communities.  It’s also the opportunity to create programs and events that represent each pillar. The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is coordinating the project under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Other collaborating organisations are the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the office of the President, the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and the Ghana Tourism Development Company.

To learn more about ‘Beyond the Return’ please visit the website  www.beyobdthereturngh.com. Please send questions and comments to [email protected] and you can also follow on social media @beyondthereturn.

Click to Submit

20 Photos That Tell The Ghana Paragliding Development Story

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The paragliding festival has become one of the main pillars of the celebration of Easter in Kwahu. Over the past 15 years, the Odweanoma mountain has been home to several exciting paragliding flights. Since 2017, when we expanded the take off point to allow up to four take-offs at a time, the flights per day during Easter has increased from an average of twenty (20) to sixty (60). The infrastructural additions to the site is part of a plan to make the Kwahu Ridge enclave an all-year-round tourism destination” – Akwasi Agyeman (CEO-GTA)

Here is how Paragliding started and how we have created a world-class site for adventure sports tourism thanks to the late Hon. Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey his Special Assistant Ferdinand Ayim, also of blessed memory who together with many others led by lead Pilot Walter Nesser helped kick-start the festival to coincide with the Kwahu Easter festivities.

Last Major Hurdle For Take-Off…

We rolled off the last huge rock in 2005 to clear the site for take-off…

In April 2005, the first Paragliding Festival was launched by the late former Vice President, his Excellency Alhaji Aliu Mahama, to coincide with the Kwahu Easter festivities.

The Opening Ceremony…

The chiefs were there to offer libation as well as political heads and tourism officials

It was a large enthusiastic moment during the opening (Notice the absence of Mobile phone for Selfies)

 

The First Flights…

After the ceremonies and speeches, things went underway.

The flights took off

 

First Cameraman To Brave The Odds…

First Cameraman (note the camera size)

 

The Inquisitive Public Applauded…

Others Tried To View From The Corners without any safe and secure place to stand…

 

Then the first view from the sky (2005) dropped

 

We Invited More Pilots (6) in 2006 and grassed the take-off site

Late Jake Welcoming 2006 Pilots With former GTA CEO, Martin Mireku and Mad. Bridgette Katsriku

 

We provided a viewing/seating platform on both sides for Viewing Public in 2010

 

We then took steps to start training Ghanaian Pilots…

 

We then focused on more public centered facilities from 2017

Expanded/Re-grassed take-off to take 4 tandem-gliders for launch

 

Construction of Permanent Viewing and Seating Pavillion

 

 

Provision of a modern washroom facility

 

Food court for catering services

 

New VIP lounge

 

A paved and gated compound

 

 

Cheers to our next big move…

 

Join us as we honour and remember many who contributed to this story…

Commissioning of Paragliding Field

2020 May have been dark but…

Conquer your fear, Be a Hero and Join us in 2021

 

#GhanaParagliding #FunNfly

Naomi Osaka Wins US Open, Honours Her Ancestral Heritage With Kente Headgear

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Naomi Osaka is the number one ranked female tennis player by the Women’s Tennis Association, a three-time Grand Slam champion and she recently won the title at the U.S. Open.  She didn’t shy away from using her platform to show support and solidarity in the Black community throughout this year’s US Open tournament.  Osaka is of Haitian and Japanese heritage and recognizes the power of using her voice on such a big platform. “I feel like I’m a vessel at this point in order to spread awareness,” she said.

The 22-year old made strong statements by wearing seven different face masks in seven matches that bore the names of Black people who have been killed by police and whose names have been part of the ongoing protests about racial injustice in America.

Osaka said that she used her platform to protest because she wanted to get more people talking about it.  She admitted that she lives in a bubble and may not see what’s truly happening on the ground, but she knows through social media and the news what has been happening to Black people.  Each of the masks she wore had the names of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Philando Castile, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery and Tamir Rice.  “I feel like the point is to make people start talking,” she said to the press. She was asked by the media what the message was she wanted to send, and she responded with “Well, what was the message that you got is more the question.”

As the daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother, she recognizes her culture and heritage and often makes reference to her Haitian roots.  In a tweet during the US Open she said, “I would like to thank my ancestors because every time I remember their blood runs through my veins I am reminded that I cannot lose.” The people of Haiti have direct ties to Africa with lineage to a few nations including Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin and the Congo. Haitian culture still has some similarities to West African culture, including the bold printed fabrics sometimes worn.

Osaka made a style statement after her match wearing a vibrant dress with traditional Ghanaian Kente as her headwrap after her U.S. Open win. “You already know I had to bring out the headwrap for this one,” she wrote on her Instagram post.  This was a tribute to her Haitian heritage, which is deeply rooted in Africa.

By Ivy Prosper

Ghana Arts And Culture Awards 2020 Officially Launched

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The 2nd edition of the prestigious Ghana Arts and Culture Awards (GACA2020) has been launched in Accra with nominations for the event also unveiled.

The ceremony which took place last Friday at the Accra Tourist Information Centre saw high profile personalities in the industry coming to grace the occasion and to give their full support to make the ceremony a memorable one.

 

In attendance was the Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Executive Director of National Commission on Culture, acting president of the Musician Union of Ghana among other Directors of Culture from the various regions in Ghana as well as musicians and filmmakers.
This year’s awards will see 19 categories of individuals and institutions being honoured. The categories include Honorary Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Outstanding Cultural Personality of the year, Cultural Heritage Entrepreneur of the year, Corporate Support for Arts and Culture, Traditional Dance Group of the year, and Traditional Music Group of the year.

Others are Cultural Television Programme of the year, cultural Radio Program of the year, Ghanaian Visual Artist of the year, Ghanaian Artiste of the year, Ghanaian Movie of the year, Ghanaian Fashion Designer of the year and Spoken Word Artist of the year.

The rest are Art Festival Event of the year, Indigenous Caterer of the year, Outstanding Cultural Theatre Performance of the year, Discovery of the year, Arts and Culture Media of the year.

Speaking at the launch and nominees announcement, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ziblim Iddi said the Ministry found it necessary to endorse the event which celebrated excellence in the arts and culture industry. He said the Ministry will lend its support to make this year’s event a success.

The award is aimed at appreciating and acknowledging the key players who have contributed to the Arts and Culture throughout the years.
Mr. Mike Frempong, the Director of Communication and Research at the Arts and Culture Company, organizers of Ghana Arts and Culture Awards said, “This year’s event will be one of the greatest events in the year for Ghanaians especially to those who deal in the Arts and Culture.

We know the COVID 19 had affected a whole lot of things but we still see the need to honor our industry players. Preparations are well ongoing for the main event which is expected to take place on the 14th November 2020”.

He further urged the nominees to keep harnessing their talents in order to grow the country’s arts and culture through their works.

‘Beyond the Return’ – 7 Unveiled Pillars Promises Deeper Connection With Diaspora

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The official unveiling of the ‘Beyond the Return’ Pillars took place at the National Theatre on 9th September 2020.  ‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year project with the theme, ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’ and its foundation is built on the seven core pillars which were unveiled during  the event which was filled with a colorful display of dance, music and theatrical performances from the National Theatre’s dance ensemble, dramatic actors and the National Symphony Orchestra.  Beyond the Return is the follow-up to last year’s successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign, which commemorated the 400-year anniversary of the first documented ship of enslaved Africans to arrive in Virginia, U.S.A.

CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, is also the Coordinator for the Beyond the Return Steering Committee. In his speech he acknowledged the loss of African American actor Chadwick Boseman, whose unexpected death last month shocked the world. He died after a 4-year battle with colon cancer. The actor played a pivotal role as the lead character in the movie, ‘Black Panther’.  The film contributed to changing the narrative of Africa and proving that Black Superheroes and stories of Africa can connect with all audiences.  “May I request that we all rise for a minute of silence? One for our ancestors who went through the torturous journey of slavery, two, for our brothers and sisters who have fallen in recent times, especially our brother Chadwick, of Black Panther fame,” said Mr. Agyeman. He also asked that we honour the late Elolo Gharbin, who died recently.  He was a Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast and a strong pillar in PANAFEST and Emancipation.

Mr. Agyeman chronicled the beginnings of the Year of Return and stated that this new journey of Beyond the return would have deeper conversations among the global African family. Beyond the Return, will work towards building bridges and creating activities, events and policies that are inclusive and integrate our local community in ways they can connect with our global African diaspora. Most importantly there is work being done to support the diaspora’s needs when it comes to repatriation.

“Each of the 7 pillars being unveiled today touches on the many areas that are key to developing Ghana and providing an environment that supports the diaspora,” said Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture when she delivered her keynote address.  She expressed that the Beyond the Return committees are listening and working diligently to address the concerns expressed by the diaspora community, especially when it comes to repatriation.  “Ghana is currently developing a homeland return legislation to facilitate various forms of migration and integration into the country for our diasporan kith and kin,” she said. “Ghana as a leader in pan Africanism, through the Homeland Return Act, will offer the opportunity for citizenship to our brothers and sisters.”  This is welcome news to all the diasporans who have been asking how they can also become Ghanaian citizens.

 

The Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, recognized the significance of the Year of Return, as he officially unveiled the pillars for Beyond the Return. “One cannot speak of Beyond the Return without mentioning the Year of Return in 2019, which was a major landmark campaign targeting the Historical African Community outside our continent,” the Senior Minister said. “Over the next decade, the project seeks to consolidate the gains of the Year of Return and grow tourism in the country, showcase its investment potentials and solidify its diaspora engagement programs to promote the African Renaissance.” The seven pillars unveiled during the event are, Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back Ghana and Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation.

The unveiling of the pillars was a historic event that has kickstarted a new chapter in Ghana’s journey of reconnecting with the global African family.

Photos: Kotoka Airport Receives First Passengers After Re-Opening

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Yesterday, September 1, 2020 the Kotoka International Airport received about 200 passengers arriving on three (3) separate flights since President Nana Addo announced the reopening of Ghana’s Airport. This comes on the heels of the recent certification of Ghana as a #SafeTravels destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

As announced earlier, passengers went through to COVID-19 tests at the Upper Arrival section of Kotoka International Airport (KIA) where 70 cubicles had been set-up to test passengers for COVID-19. Passengers were seen going through the process smoothly without hitches.
At the main Arrival Hall, the demarcation was also in place to allow for social distancing amongst arriving travelers.

One of the latest addition to the processes at the airport is the introduction of automated Health declaration forms for passenger use. Passengers could be seen keying-in Health details on electronic systems provided as part of the processes.
With these initial flights, it is expected that the numbers will increase stemming from the increase in demand for Ghanaian Visas at some of the Embassies and Consulates for Beyond The Return and December In Ghana.
Also, departing Accra yesterday were two private jets and Tap Portugal Airlines where passengers observed COVID-19 protocols put in place.
At the airport yesterday were members of the Ghana Airports Company Limited Board led by the Chairperson, Madam Oboshie Sai Cofie and officials of the Ministries of Health, Aviation, Ghana Health Service and Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to observe the facilitation process.

Beyond the Return Diaspora Features – Rashad McCrorey Settled into Life in Ghana During Pandemic

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Since Ghana’s borders were closed in March, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been thousands of people who were in the country on a visit for travel, business or leisure, who have been stuck within Ghana’s borders.  Most are hoping Ghana would open soon so they could return to their respective countries.  For many, it’s been a scary situation, while for others, it’s actually been more of a safe haven while watching the rest of the world battle with the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

For African American Entrepreneur and Writer, Rashad McCrorey, what started off as a possible scary situation, has turned into one of the greatest blessings.  He had travelled to Ghana earlier this year for business shortly before Ghana confirmed its first few cases of Covid-19. As concerns grew over the danger of this global health crisis, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo made the decision to close the country’s borders.  “At first I was scared,” McCrorey said when asked about his initial feelings when the pandemic broke out. “…but I reminded myself that fear is always a sign for opportunity.  Once I calmed myself down, I carefully evaluated all my options.” He said he spoke with his mother and some of his Ghanaian associates in the country and he was able to conclude that his best decision was to stay in Ghana. As the United States arranged for repatriation flights back to the U.S., he could have left Ghana, but decided to stay.

McCrorey is from New York City, which was America’s Covid-19 epicentre, at the time he was making the decision to remain in Ghana.  As he watched the news and what was happening there he was very concerned if going back there would be a wise decision. “I thought about my health, as I have chronic asthma,” he said. “..and what effects Covid-19 in New York City would have on my lungs.”  He is the founder of Africa Cross-Culture, a travel company that specializes in back to Africa trips to Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Rwanda and Ghana.  Because of the type of business he does, he thought staying would also be a wise business decision.  He could better promote Ghana while he was here rather than in lockdown in New York.

 

“I believed that being an American in Ghana during the pandemic would be a great news story which it has proven to be. Especially considering my circumstances of only planning to be in Ghana for 2 to 3 weeks for business and now entering my sixth month in Ghana and knowing my stay is truly indefinite,” he said. Since being in Ghana during this time, McCrorey has gained media attention from news outlets in America and here in Ghana. He’s been able to give his perspective being an American in a West African country during a global pandemic. He has even become a contributing writer with reputable media outlets in Ghana and abroad.

 

Originally staying in Accra, he moved to Aburi when the lockdown started and now he’s fallen in love with the Central Region of Ghana and has spent a significant amount of time in Cape Coast and Elmina.  He has connected with people in the diaspora community who have settle in the region. He says it feels most like home in the Central Region.

 

McCrorey said that he has always had a desire to visit Africa and said his late father was a true Pan Africanist.  He says the urge to come to Africa started when he was just six years old. “My dad taught me about the great kings and queens of Africa. He taught me the practice of ancestral worship, meditation and thinking outside the box using intuition.”  He speaks highly of his father’s influence on him when it comes to the love of Africa. “…anything I accomplish in my role of the African diaspora is attributed to his teachings,” he said.

 

His trip to Ghana this year is not his first. “Between 2015 to 2018 I had already visited Ghana more than a dozen times,” he said.  “When I first heard about the ‘Year of Return’ initiative it was a dream come true. My mission and vision was for black Americans returning to Africa…it was like the completion of my dream coming into reality. Finally, stereotypes about Africa will be debunked by the masses.” During the ‘Year of Return’ 2019, he brought four different tour groups to Ghana with a total of 102 guests. He said that it was good that black Americans now have African tourist destinations and not just the same old non-African places they are used to like Cancun, Dubai and countless other places.

 

When President Nana Akufo-Addo announced 2 weeks ago that there was a possibility of the borders opening soon, there was a glimmer of hope for travellers stuck both in and out of the country. On Sunday August 30th, the president announced the official reopening of Ghana’s borders by air.  Kotoka International Airport will resume operations on September 1, 2020.

 

When asked his plans once the country opened McCrorey said he will have to be strategic and consider all his options. He said it would depend on what benefits there are in staying in Ghana versus returning home.  He suggested the possibility of simply travelling to Egypt from Ghana before even going back to the United States. “I have a long-term plan, but I am also aware that opportunities can come at any time that could extend or cut short my stay,” he continued. Even though he has been deliberate with his time in Ghana, he says the unknown still lies in returning home to the U.S.

Ghana’s International Air Borders Opens September 1, 2020

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President Nana Akufo-Addo, in his sixteenth update on enhanced measures to defeat the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, announced the reopening of the country’s borders by air.   After several weeks of thorough work, the president said he was satisfied that it was safe to open. “I’m glad to announce that Kotoka International Airport will reopen and resume operations from Tuesday 1st September 2020,” he said in his address to the nation.

 

All international airlines have been informed and briefed on the protocols that have been put in place to keep the country’s continued proactive measures against the spread of the virus.  It was noted that the first few cases were imported from travellers arriving in Ghana and that the country will remain vigilant to prevent this from happening again.

 

There have been protocols put in place to maintain Ghana’s dedication to prevent new importations of the virus with the open borders.    Any passenger arriving in Ghana must have a copy of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in their country of origin.  They must have completed the test within 72 hours of travel.  All arriving passengers in Ghana must we wearing face masks as they disembark, and they will undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing at the airport terminal.  The fees for the test would be the responsibility of the passenger.  Results would be available within 30 minutes and those who test negative are free to go to their destination and must observe all covid-19 precautionary measures.  Those who test positive would be handled by health authorities.

 

Ghana’s borders have been closed since March leaving many travellers stuck both in and out of the country.  There are also several diasporans who had trips planned to Ghana that were cancelled or postponed. Many of them have been anticipating the reopening of Ghana’s borders. The border reopening is welcome news to those who have been anxious to either leave or return to Ghana.  The president added that borders by land and sea are still closed to human traffic until further notice.

Ghana receives global Safe Travels Stamp from World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

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Ghana has become the latest recipient of the world’s first-ever global Safe Travels Stamp, (formerly safety and hygiene stamp), launched recently by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The stamp created by the WTTC in May this year, allows travellers to identify destinations and businesses around the world which have adopted the global standardised health and hygiene protocols.

A statement issued by the WTTC which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector said the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has welcomed the Safe Travels Stamp, which places the safety and hygiene of travellers as a top priority.

The WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “Our Safe Travels Stamp continues to go from strength to strength and we are delighted to see even more popular countries and destinations from all corners of the world adopt our global health and hygiene protocols.

“The stamp also recognises the introduction of new measures by governments around the world which positively impact the Travel & Tourism sector, and to that end, we applaud the government of Ecuador for implementing new measures at Quito airport.

“The continued success of the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp demonstrates its importance not only to countries, destinations and businesses around the world, but crucially travellers, and the millions of people around the world who work in and depend on, a thriving Travel & Tourism sector.

“The stamp is critical to re-establish consumer confidence in our sector and ensure travellers can rest assured that enhanced standards of hygiene are in place and they can once again experience ‘Safe Travels’.”

Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon Barbara Oteng-Gyasi said: “We are delighted with this milestone of a Safe Travels Stamp for Ghana. Since March 21, 2020, when our borders were closed, we have worked on creating a safe environment for our Tourism and Travel practitioners. The protocols we have put in place are borne out of a shared responsibility to create a hygienic and safe destination.

“With the gradual easing of restrictions, we believe these measures will boost confidence in our tourism and hospitality sector. We congratulate the WTTC for instituting these Safe Travels protocols which is a welcome addition to the tourism industry.”

Since the launch of the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp, destination countries and cities, around the world have now adopted WTTC’s new protocols, including holiday heavyweights such as Tunisia, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Portugal, Kenya, Mauritius and Dubai.

As part of its Safe Travels protocols, the worldwide measures provide consistency and guidance to travel providers and travellers about the new approach to health, hygiene, deep cleansing and physical distancing, in the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19 world.

The protocols were devised following the experience of WTTC members dealing with COVID-19 and based on guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.

Source: Graphic Online