Ghana's tourism was given another positive boost when its capital, Accra, was named the 'M.I.C.E City of the Year' at the "M.I.C.E Awards West Africa" event during the 6th Abuja Jabamah, a B2B - Business to Business - travel and tourism trade conference hosted at the Exhibition Hall of the International Conference Center in Abuja last Friday.
An acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions - M.I.C.E - is an industry term for business tourism, and while focusing on this aspect of tourism does not reinvent the hospitality sector, it brings new thinking and packaging opportunities to boost stakeholder engagement in the tourism ambit.
In Abuja to receive the award was PaJohn Bentsifi Dadson, director of the recently launched Ghana Tourism Authority travel media and consumer advisory unit to service vacationers and meeting planners, the Ghana National Convention and Visitors Bureau (GNCVB).
Kaya Tours, a Ghanaian company, was also named MICE Company of the Year. Expressing his delight on the recognition accorded the city, Mr Dadson added that the aspiration for the development of M.I.C.E was "to build a West Africa wide experience for future event delegates, such that we can input into the itineraries of conference participants in one country, cultural immersions across the sub-region to making it a destination of choice."
According to the global experts in association meetings, ICCA, Accra Ghana is the only city in the Top 10 in West Africa, ranked number 9 in Africa, with Abidjan and Dakar following at 13 and 14 respectively. Johannesburg, South Africa and Kigali, Rwanda are ranked earlier, and with the successes witnessed by Rwanda, it is possible to leapfrog ones’ tourism position using the MICE vehicle.
West Africa is yet to catch up. Accra's popularity is owing to the country's stability, and currently focused on establishing the Bureau as one of the strongest destination support services in Africa, Mr Dadson has the mandate to set up the GNCVB as a one-stop solution for information, guidance and assistance and also market the country abroad to attract more group tourism business.
Other winners at the event, which also named the Top 100 Tourism Personalities in Nigeria, included Lagos State which won two awards, the M.I.C.E. City of the Year in Nigeria and the M.I.C.E. Most Active Tourism State in Nigeria. Rivers State and Plateau tied-up with Lagos State as the M.I.C.E. Most Active Tourism State in Nigeria. Uloma, and Egbuna’s Tour Brokers International was honoured with the M.I.C.E. Company of the Year Nigeria.