A key highlight of last month’s UK-Africa Summit was the signing of a 5- year deal between Ghana’s Tourism Authority (GTA) and Event Horizon Entertainment Limited; organizers of last year’s Afronation festival in Ghana.
The deal which was signed in the presence of President Akufo-Addo in the UK gives Ghana the right to host the popular music concert and festival for 5 consecutive years.
News about this deal received mixed reactions as some entertainment industry players criticized the decision and argued along the lines of the “By Ghanaians – In Ghana- For Ghana” narrative. However, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority; Mr. Akwasi Agyeman has explained that, the biggest beneficiary of this deal would be Ghanaians.
In an exclusive interview with Dr. Cann on Happy FM’s ‘Showbiz Xtra’ entertainment show, Mr. Agyeman disclosed that Government was motivated to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the organisers because of the economic impact the 2019 edition brought to Ghana and the projections made.
He mentioned that, analysis of exit interviews conducted at the Kotoka International Airport during the Christmas season revealed that apart from the “Year of Return initiative” two events that frequently featured on tourist’s list of reasons for visiting Ghana or events attended were Afronation and Afrochella. Explaining further, Mr. Agyeman said that revenue was generated directly and indirectly from visitors through the issuance of visas, airport taxes, hotel and guest room usage, transportation usage including car rental and taxis, bar, restaurants and simple food vendor set ups. Ghana’s artistes were part of the line of up performing artistes in addition to the sourcing of event logistics from local suppliers. He mentioned that about 90% of logistics used for these events were sourced locally thereby enhancing local employment and revenue generation.
Mr. Agyeman explained that at a post event meeting with the organisers, the organisers revealed that despite the successes they faced challenges such as legal suits, traffic management, security and others. It was therefore important for Government to support by helping to resolve challenges that require the contribution of state institutions and ensuring that Ghanaians benefit in the long term.
Commenting on how the event attracted tourists to Ghana, Mr. Agyeman mentioned that as early as October 2019, organizers of the event approached government for assistance in visa acquisition for about 8000 patrons who had purchased tickets in their respective countries and needed assistance in securing visas seamlessly and getting to December, this number definitely increased.
According to the Tourism Authority CEO, the signed MoU precedes the signing of a detailed agreement that will include specifics and responsibilities by both parties including how government can create an enabling environment to support the event.
He also disclosed that the authority supports Afrochella as well as many other local event organisers.
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