The 2019 Eastern Regional Tourism Awards has taken place with industry professionals and businesses being recognized for their exceptional services over the past year.
The event which was initially slated to hold in March before the Covid-19 lockdown got underway at the plush Dodi World at Akosombo last Saturday, September 19, 2020 amidst strict adherence to new health protocols.
The Awards show compèred by celebrated broadcaster Kwami Sefa Kayi was a colourful ceremony replete with traditional pomp and pageantry which drew tourism and hospitality practitioners from all over the Eastern Region with a few selected guests from the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) Head Office and traditional authorities in and around the area.
Chairperson for the occasion, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, the Akwamuhene who was represented by Nana Ansah Kwao IV the Chief of Adumasa in his address said with the many successes that last year’s Year of Return chalked, “we need to do a medium-term analysis to see how it fared.” He said the country and particularly, the Eastern Region has so much to show in terms of tourism, therefore, “we must rewrite our tourism business beyond the year of return.”
In his welcome address, GTA’s Eastern Regional Manager, Frederick Adjei-Rudolf said he was proud and grateful to his team, supporters and sponsors for helping pull the event off even in the midst of Coronavirus challenges. “Events of such grandeur can only be made possible by the benevolence and magnanimity of very committed people,” he averred.
In light of this however, Adjei-Rudolf reiterated his constant call for the regional awards to be held biennially instead of every year since it’s increasingly becoming difficult securing the resources needed to organise it owing to what he describes as “sponsorship fatigue.”
He bemoaned the absence of some award categories including “Restaurant Grade 3 of the Year” due to operators within the region’s inability to meet any of the jury’s criteria. He attributed this to poor service delivery and wanton disregard for acceptable operational standards as required by GTA which he urged the operators to refrain from.
GTA CEO, Akwasi Agyeman in his remarks said although they had hoped to build on 2019’s Year of Return to shore up tourism numbers, the Coronavirus pandemic has made this year a difficult one. “But through it all, we have shown resilience and I’m hopeful in the last quarter of the year our tourism will pick up,” he said.
He said the government was still working on a stimulus package for the sector and that “the President takes our tourism very seriously that he’s had meetings with many stakeholders in this regard.”
In all 25 awards were given under six main categories which included, Accommodation, Food and Beverage, Tourism Levy, Attraction, Media and Special Recognition Awards.
• Tourism Oriented Media (Tv) for the Year 2019 – Citi Tv
• Tourism Oriented Media (Radio) for the Year 2019 – Peace Fm
• Tourism Oriented Media (Print) for the Year 2019 – Graphic Com. Group Ltd
• Tourism Correspondent (Print) of the Year 2019 – Naa Lamiley Bentil
• Tourism Correspondent of the Year 2019 (Electronic) – Neil Nii Amatey Kanarku Of Citi Fm/Tv
• Outstanding Contribution to the Development Of The Hospitality Industry in the Region – Nana Asamoah Yeboah-Afari I (Executive Director, Royal Senchi Hotel & Resort)
• Outstanding Support for Tourism Programmes in the Eastern Region – Mr. Joseph Kwasi Okyere (Managing Director, Eastern Premier Hotel, Koforidua)
• All Time Brand Icon of the Eastern Regional Tourism Awards – Mr. Kwami Sefa Kayi (Senior Broadcast Journalist, Peace Fm)
• Highway Rest Stop of the Year 2019 – Linda Dor Highway Rest Stop, Bunso
• Restaurant Grade 1 of the Year 2019 Linda Dor Restaurant (Main), Koforidua
• Restaurant Grade 2 of the Year 2019 – Summer Spring Restaurant, Akuse
• Drinking Bar of the Year 201 – Georgia Club, Somanya
• Pub of the Year 2019 – Casa Bar and Grill, Koforidua
• Consistent Payment of 1% Tourism Levy (Accommodation) for the Year 2019 – Kingsville Guest House, Koforidua
• Consistent Payment of 1%Tourism Levy (Catering) for the Year 2019 – Superior Restaurant, Senchi
• Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019 – Dodi World, Akosombo
• Site Guide of the Year 2019 – Kenneth Asare Frimpong, Bunso Ecopark
• Hostel of the Year 2019 – Charlotte Court Hostel, Brekusu
• Budget Hotel of the Year 2019 – Oak Ridge Lodge, Akim Tafo
• Guest House of the Year 2019 – 3a’s Guest House, Akosombo
• 1-Star Hotel of the Year 2019 – Krossova Leisure Center, Senchi
• 2-Star Hotel of the Year 2019 – Hill Palace Hotel, Peduase
• 3-Star Hotel of the Year 2019 – Capital View Hotel, Koforidua
• 4-Star Hotel of the Year 2019 – Royal Senchi Hotel & Resort
Award winners selected guests and the media were taken on a cruise on the Volta Lake on the new Dodi Princess which was formally inaugurated by Nana Ansah Kwao IV to climax the 2019 Eastern Regional Tourism Awards.
Story by: Samuel Obeng Appah