–Part 1

by Egi Gaisie

How well do you know GHATOF?

The lack of a trade/industry magazine or literature limits our knowledge of current issues, trends and general operations of the hospitality and tourism industry in Ghana from the perspective of industry players.

For starters, Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), is the umbrella body of all tourism, hospitality and travel and tourism associations in Ghana with the mandate of being the liaison between government and the private sector while advocating for their interest. The Ghana Tourism Federation is therefore the highest organization established to champion the cause of the private sector in Ghana’s tourism industry.

Over the years I have been taking interest in some of the headlines given to GHATOF by our media who generally report events. A few times, headlines on GHATOF caught my attention for different reasons. Among the headlines were the following:

  • Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) opens secretariat(August, 2008)
  • GHATOF inaugurates Ghana’s Tourism Hall of fame (July, 2016)
  • Marhaba Festival Launched alongside GHATOF 25th Anniversary Celebration (June 2019)
  • Ghana Tourism Federation laments massive job losses due to COVID-19(May 2020)
  • GHATOF advocates for progress of tourism infrastructure in Ghana(June, 2020)
  • GHATOF calls on government to upgrade tourism centers (June, 2020)
  • GHATOF initiates process for selecting tourism ambassadors (September, 2020)
  • Year of Return: GHATOF launches Marhaba Tourism Festival to welcome African diasporans(August, 2021)

In July/August 2008 the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), the Presidents of 14 trade associations in the tourism industry, officially opened a secretariat where members could meet and share vital information about the tourism industry. To date, this number has grown to 30 including affiliate members.

The secretariat is located in the same building as the Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT). It was established with support from JICA, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, then known as Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations and individuals in the industry as part of the public-private partnership programme the sector had embarked on.

According to its mission statement, GHATOF exists to articulate the concerns of the practitioners in the industry and thus influence tourism policy development and growth.

Being made of several hospitality and tourism associations, how well do members of GHATOF know each other?

Do you know who makes up GHATOF?

Do you know what they do?

For the next few weeks, our attention will be on GHATOF and her members. For this week, I have the honor of interacting with the President of GHATOF;

Madam Bella Ayayee Ahu, my Guest.
IMAGES (relating to associations)OPINIONS/QUESTIONS By Egi GaisieCOMMENTS/RESPONSES  By Mad. Bella A. Ahu
I know GHATOF represents the interests of close to 30 associations in the hospitality and tourism industry in Ghana. The brooms in the image represent your members. Is GHATOF a trade association or a professional association?Yes, GHATOF represents 30 Trade Associations in the hospitality and tourism space. All these trade associations have their activities very related to the industry. They include the Ghana Hotels Association, Tour Operators Union of Ghana and a host of others. GHATOF is the apex body of all these related tourism and hospitality associations. Together like your brooms, we “carry one voice”.
This quote is a reason why individuals and organizations join associations. However, in my opinion, very few associations in our sector seem vibrant. How does this impact GHATOF since it is an umbrella of associations?Much as I agree that not all trade associations are vibrant, those that are, have the voice. They are able to table their issues, most of which are concerns that cut across all associations under GHATOF. The issues are normally addressed and those whom you may describe as not vibrant also share in benefits arising from addressed issues.
No-one notices a drop(of water), except you are a hotel housekeeper carrying out an inspection(a joke); however the times we are in call for development, growth and giving support to each other. What are your views?Covid-19 actually brought us together strongly as we had to discuss our challenges and how to come out of them. A lot of ideas had to be traded to bring back the industry which was on the verge of crushing. Hotels had to bring down prices, domestic tourism had to be launched and a host of packages had to be put in place to see the industry as an ocean.
Generally we get excited about joining associations but before long we begin to ask ourselves what good our membership is, in the association. Does it boil down to ‘what you put in, is what you only get out?’ Working together brings about higher chances of achievement; one person does not have all the ideas. GHATOF has common challenges among the various trade associations; these have to do with taxes, fees and policies among others. Views are put together from our members to the appropriate quarters and positive results bind us together.
You have taken the wind out of the sail. This image is of a well-known proverb; birds of the same feather, flock together. What binds the 30 or so associations together under GHATOF?We have common interests; as indicated earlier, taxes, fees, policies and the like. In the hospitality and tourism industry, we are also dependent on each other. Without travel, there can be no tourism and once a traveller leaves home, all the other sectors are activated; forex bureau, food and drink, entertainment and leisure, as well as accommodation.
Connections/networking, are always formed by people which is why it’s difficult for trade associations to get their members to connect – they’re dealing with entire organizations, not just individuals. How does GHATOF enhance the promotion of associations within it?The aim of GHATOF is to advocate for needs and policies that will enhance our industry. This can only be achieved with one collective voice it is not an individual affair.

You may also like

Leave a Comment