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

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AfCFTA Secretariat Building Officially Commissioned and Handed Over in Accra, Ghana

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It was a historic day for Africa as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat building was officially commissioned and handed over on Monday 17th August 2020 in Accra, Ghana. President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was in attendance and delivered a keynote address. The president said that he has no doubt that the coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area is one of the most important decisions taken by the African Union.

 

He announced that Ghana fulfilled her obligations and was handing over a “fully furnished and befitting office space, in a secured and easily accessible location within the business centre of Accra, as a permanent Secretariat of the AfCFTA.” The formation of AfCFTA, is truly the realization of pan African visionary and first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, who was one of the Founders and Organisation Heads of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said that part of the agenda when the OAU, now known as the African Union (AU), was founded, was for African countries to explore their full potential in order to better negotiate on a global scale. She said that the Africa we want has a shared framework and we know the road ahead will not be easy. “Our belief must be in ourselves and in our collective abilities as Africans,” she said.

One sentiment expressed by all speakers was how important regional integration is and the significance of the AfCFTA’s role in deepening trade within the continent. President Akufo-Addo spoke of how the economic integration of Africa will lay a strong foundation for an Africa Beyond Aid. He also said, “The pandemic has heightened the importance of the success of the AfCFTA. The disruption of global supply chains has reinforced the necessity for closer integration amongst us, so that we can boost our mutual self-sufficiency, strengthen our economies and reduce dependence on external resources.”

H.E. Wamkele Keabetswe Mene, is the first elected Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat and commended Ghana for her contribution to the pan Africanist movement. “Since the end of colonialism, the Republic of Ghana has been at the forefront of the integration of Africa,” he said, “…so it’s significant that the AfCFTA Secretariat is in Ghana.” He said that Africa has the potential to be a catalyst to improve the continent’s competitiveness in its own markets as well as internationally.

Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry Ghana, said, “Less than 15% of Africa’s total trade occurs within the region. The paradox of Africa being the richest continent and yet the poorest could partly be attributed to this unfortunate situation.” He stressed the importance of everyone involved to have a level of sustained commitment for the effective implementation of AfCFTA. He said he was confident that all challenges can be addressed when working together. He implored everyone to “Be inspired by the prospect of success in realizing our vision of a single united market for Africa.”

 

President of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, sent a supporting message by video since he was unable to attend the official ceremony. He was praised throughout the event for his championing of the AfCFTA.
President Akufo-Addo handed over the symbolic key to the newly commissioned Secretariate Office to the Chairperson of the African Union, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt. Shortly after the ceremony ended and selected persons were given a tour of the new facility.

Earlier This Year
H.E. Wamkele Mene, of South Africa, was elected as the first Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat. He was sworn in on 19th March 2020 for a four-year period and would be based in the new Secretariate office located in Accra, Ghana. His role is to lead the Secretariate in daily strategies to support the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement.

The ‘Agenda 2063’: The Africa We Want, is the flagship initiative of the AfCFTA. This is a plan for transforming Africa into a global competitor. With goals to work on a strategic framework for the continent’s drive for unity, progress and prosperity. The AfCFTA will be focused on building intra-African trade through mutually beneficial trade agreements with member states. This will cover trade in goods, investments, services and intellectual property rights. There is also the goal of increasing Africa’s current intra-trade levels of 10-13% to 25% or more over the next 10 years.
The Agenda 2063 documents can be found on the African Union website.

By: Ivy Prosper

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Women in business and tourism call on the Tourism Minister, Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi

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Executives of Women in Business and Tourism pay a Courtesy Call on Hon Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture to welcome her to her new role as the Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture. The Executive team was led by the President of Women in Business and Tourism Miss Eunice Ogbugo, the Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Organiser, Media and Publicity.

Members of the Group recently visited South Africa for Africa’s Travel Indaba and the Women in Tourism Dinner that was held there were members of Women in Business and Tourism from other SADC countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Angola were present including Ghana and Nigeria representing West Africa.

The Group informed the Honourable Minister of their plans to officially launch the Women in Business and Tourism Ghana Chapter and West Africa or Ecowas Chapter in Ghana on the 28th of June 2019 at which they have requested the presence of the Honourable Minister to give a keynote address as her Ministry is one of the umbrella ministries they work hand in hand with. The other Ministries the group works under are the Ministry of Business Development, The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The Group also informed the Minister of the reason for the name Women in Business and Tourism because Tourism is multi-sectoral and works for hand in hand with various sectors such as construction, telecom, banking and finance, health and wellness, fashion industries, hospitality, beauty, agriculture, aviation, etc not forgetting the services such as law, accounting, etc etc. The President informed the Minister that their group comprised women owning companies or businesses in all these various sectors including the Tourism industry.

The main objective of the Group is to see to the ownership of Businesses by women, expansion of existing businesses from Small scale to large enterprises, diversification from one Business into other businesses or other business sectors or areas, and expansion beyond the borders of our various countries into other Africa Countries.

By: Kakra Kusi

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