The Department of Hospitality and Tourism has launched its 10th Anniversary at a ceremony at the Main Auditorium.
Speaking at the function, the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ziblim Barri Iddi, congratulated the Department on achieving such a milestone. He noted that tourism played a key role in contributing towards the development of Ghana’s economy. “Given the necessary support, tourism can open more opportunities for employment, foreign exchange and generally increase in people’s incomes through the value chain” he noted.
Dr. Iddi indicated that, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Industry has become global and highly competitive socio-economic environmental activity in both developed and undeveloped countries. “In Ghana the tourism sector accounts for 6% in total employment and 5.3% to GDP whiles growing at an average of 9% annually” he stated. He noted when the tourism sector was fully developed it would make Ghana a preferred tourist destination in Africa.
As part of efforts to harness the potentials of the tourism sector for accelerated development, Dr. Iddi said the Ministry and its agencies were implementing strategic policies, plans and programmes that were geared towards increasing the contributions of the sector to the country’s economic development. With these developments in place, Dr. Iddi said it was the expectation of the Ministry that the Department would continue to train highly skilled human resource for the sector and also build the capacities of personnel who were already on the field.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George K. T. Oduro, commended the Department for producing graduates who were making positive impact in the hospitality and tourism sector in the country. He called on the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture to support the Department to become a Centre of Excellence in Hospitality and Tourism in Ghana to build capacity of players in the sector.
Prof. Oduro entreated the Department to initiate steps to address the “long waiting time” at hospitality centres in the country “There are times you have to wait for long before you are provided certain services at restaurants and hotel” he noted.
An alumna of the University, Mrs. Roberta Dawson-Amoah, who is the Marketing Manager, said she was impressed about the research activities of the Department. She urged the Department to liaise with stakeholders to disseminate its research works to boost hospitality and tourism in the country. “You are doing all these work but Ghana stays out there as if there is no solution to problems in the tourism sector of our economy” he stated. She urged students of the Department to make themselves relevant so that they would gain recognition even before they enter the job market.
The Chairman for the function, Prof. Lawrence K. Owusu-Ansah commended the Department for living up to expectation over the 10 years of its existence in the University. “What is more important is the fact that most of the lecturers and professors come from within and this is an indication that the Department has guaranteed its existence into the future,” he noted. Prof. Owusu-Ansah wished the Department a successful celebration.
In his remarks, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences said the Department has achieved a lot of success within few years of its establishment. He commended the Department for its role in training students, conducting research and building capacity of professionals in the industry. He said the Department was one of the vibrant ones in the Faculty.
The Head of Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Dr. Kwaku Boakye said the Department had made significant achievements in the areas of capacity building, training high calibre of graduates for the industry and pursuing vigorous research aimed at improving and developing the hospitality and tourism industry. He expressed gratitude to lecturers, staff and students for contributing towards the successes of the Department. He called for support from stakeholders to enable the Department play its role in promoting and developing the sector.
As part of the launch, some students of the Department demonstrated a table set up for three course meal lunch.
Activities lined-up for the year-long celebrations include Tourism awareness creation, community and alumni engagements and grand durbar. He urged the students to reflect on the advice by alumni who spoke at the function in order to become responsible individuals at their workplace and in the society.
Present at the launch were the South Africa, High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency, Hon. Lulu Xingwana, founding Head of the Department, Prof. Oheneba Akyeampong, lecturers, some heads of hospitality and tourism facilities in the country and students.