The Chamber of Tourism Industry (CTI) in collaboration with stakeholders in the sector will organise this year’s Africa Digitisation Conference on Tourism and Trade (ADCOTT) at the Accra International Conference Centre.

The conference slated from August 24 to 26 will bring over 2,000 participants from various stakeholder groups to discuss on public policy issues relating to tourism, trade and internet in Africa and as well exchange information on best practices with each other.

The conference is on the theme: “Pushing Africa’s Tourism and Trade Frontiers through Digitisation”.

Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture; speaking at the launch of the event in Accra, said government had championed the concept of digitisation as a means of building a knowledge-based economy for development.

He commended the organizers for initiating the conference, stressing that the success of the country’s tourism space had strengthened the currency of the economy through trade and investment.

Dr Iddi indicated that the success of the “Year of Return” had boosted trade and investment in the country, hence the need for government to introduce ‘’Beyond the Return” to sustain the initiative for national growth.

The Year of Return, Ghana 2019 was an initiative of the government to encourage African diasporans to come to Africa, specifically Ghana to settle and invest in the continent.

The project was also aimed at making Ghana the focus of activities to commemorate the landing of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies in North America and to offer huge opportunity to entrench Ghana’s leadership.

Touching on digitisation, the Deputy Minister said government had reiterated its unflinching commitment to leverage on technology and digitisation, to strengthen and improve the delivery of service within the country’s public sector.

This, according to him had resulted in the recent migration of some public institutions including the Ports, Lands Commission, Ministry of Tourism and the Passport Office onto the various digital platforms to ease business transactions.

He explained that the transformation witnessed efficiency in service delivery and massive improvement in revenue mobilisation, and assured not to renege in its determination to use technology to enhance productivity.

Dr Iddi said over the years, the country had relied on gold and natural resources for its development agenda to the neglect of the service industry, and added that government diversified its portfolios to include; tourism and agriculture for economic growth.

“Government has prioritised tourism because of its benefit of creating employment through the value chain. We will continue to sustain the sector and use it as a tool to drive trade and investment,” he said.

Government has over the next four years, budgeted about 100 million dollars to strengthen the tourism enabling environment, develop tourist sites and support tourism enterprises.

Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampah, the Director General, National Development Planning Commission commended government for investing in the tourism sector as it gained prominence as a conduit for achieving sustainable growth and poverty reduction.

He said by 2027, Ghana would want to realise 8 million tourist arrivals per year and raise $8.3 million a year for the industry and initiatives such as ADCOTT were worth supporting because of the long-term goals for the sector.

However, the country’s National Annual Progress report has indicated that tourism arrivals and receipts were growing steadily and had contributed immensely to the Gross Domestic Product in the service sector.

Mrs Odelia Ntiamoah, the Chief Executive Officer, CTI said one of the major setbacks for intra-African export was Africa’s borders, adding that technology was the solution to the problem in addition to the introduction of the continental free trade.

She said it was the expectation that at the end of the conference, there would be working document to help shape the country’s tourism and trade sector for improvement.