Hospitality and Tourism Associations You Should Know

by Egi Gaisie

The year is gradually closing-in and reviewing the work of GH-hospitality (the blog) over the year, I couldn’t help but ask, ‘how could this have escaped me?’ I am referring to Hospitality and Tourism Associations in Ghana!

I have had a few people ask me about associations within the hospitality and tourism industry. ‘Are they worth joining?’ ‘Could you recommend which ones to join?

A few people I have engaged with, in a discussion on associations, have indicated that ‘trade associations easily turn into social clubs’, and ‘they can be so unprofessional! ’ said another person. I do know of people who have great testimonies about their associations.

‘Experience’, it is said ‘is the best teacher.’

So, have you ever attended an association meeting, perhaps because you had been invited or you were representing someone; and after the meeting what was your assessment? Did you experience a sense of belonging? Allow me to briefly recount some personal experiences.

I was to represent my Employer at an association meeting. I was about 15 minutes late, so obviously all eyes were on me when I walked in. I sensed I was not welcomed. I was smallish in physical stature then, and may have been the youngest in the room. I was more comfortable speaking English than the Ghanaian language which was being used as the lingua franca. I think it was a mutual feeling; I also, didn’t feel I belonged there. That was several years ago!

More recently, a couple of months ago, I found myself on a global platform of hospitality and tourism educators and hospitality and tourism business operators in a virtual conference of about 600 hundred attendees. I felt a sense of belonging; I saw them as fellow colleagues, passionate about the hospitality and tourism industry.

A feeling of belonging is strongly required if one wants to contribute significantly and get the most in any association. This sense of belonging involves more than simply being acquainted with other people within the association. It is centered on gaining acceptance, attention, and support from members of the group as well as providing the same attention to other members.

It is believed that an increased sense of belonging leads to collaboration, problem solving, and better decision making. It’s only when people feel this sense of belonging that they can share ideas, confidently speak up, and fully contribute effectively to the strength and eventual success of associations.

Having touched on sense of belonging, for the sake of my student readers, see below a few distinctions between trade associations and professional associations.

By Wikipedia definition: A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry…

A trade association is a professional “club” that brings common industries together to share information and sometimes promote standards. The trade association sometimes sponsors industry conferences where people from multiple companies come together to share information and show their products. By: Ron Wiseman, Corporate executive in US manufacturing.

Professional associations:

  • Want to help their individual members advance their careers. They tend to offer certifications, education and job boards…Kristy C. Cartier, The Marketing Architect.
  • “The membership exists at the individual level and each person is responsible for their membership dues. By Emily Kelly Hilton, studied at Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis.

Can a professional association be a member of a trade association?

We know the value of trade associations. We also know the value of professional associations.

This begins my series on hospitality and tourism associations in Ghana, focusing on GHATOF, Ghana Tourism Federation and its members. WATCH OUT FOR NEXT WEEK!



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