Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) had it’s 25 Anniversary celebration on 6th June at the Accra Tourist Information Centre. It was also the official Media Launch for its maiden Marhaba Festival, set to take place 18th– 20th July 2019. Several attendees from the diaspora community were present along with key stakeholders in tourism and development in Ghana.
A cultural display of music, singing and dance set the tone at the event and even had guests getting out of their seats to dance along to the beat of traditional Ghanaian music. The official theme song for the Marhaba Festival was premiered. There were three different versions, one in a local style, a reggae-inspired version and another created to appeal to an African American audience.
Emmanuel Frimpong, Marhaba Committee Chair, spoke about the purpose of the festival saying, “This event is to welcome our brothers and sisters and engage them and to partner with them to see how we can move Ghana forward. Because this year is the year of return and we want to work in partnership with them and make Ghana better.” This sentiment is one that has been shared by many and is one of the driving forces behind activities related to ‘year of return.’ The opportunity to present what Ghana has to offer and to create strong bonds with the diaspora is important.
The President of Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Ackah Nyamekye said, “Tourism is such an important sector in our economy, contributing to employment contributing to foreign and indirect investments, contributing to infrastructure development and all that.” He continued by saying, “I’m very excited to have this opportunity to chair this function, 25 years of GHATOF…..since I started involving myself actively in GHATOF it has been a wonderful journey.” He told the President of GHATOF, that he was ready and willing to accept to chair the function.
Bella Ayayee Ahu, President of GHATOF said that she wanted to position this new festival as a program to invite all in the diaspora so that they can feel at home when they come to Ghana. The festival will take place over the course of three days and includes an event in Prampram, a ceremony inviting a Durbar of Chiefs from the various regions in Ghana as well as a Roots Reggae concert at Trade Fair. They’ve also included a component with a business investment summit to give people in the diaspora an opportunity to learn about opportunities in Ghana.
Written by Ivy Prosper