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Business News of Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Source: Yayra Watson

Food Tourism: A recipe for Economic Development - How ready are you Ghana?

“For millions of Africans, tourism is a lifeline – its potential for driving transformative and inclusive growth must be harnessed.” - Mukhisa Kituyi Secretary-General, UNCTAD

The first Ghana Food and Cultural Expo 2018, a multi-sector trade-oriented exhibition in the food and hospitality industry, will be held from March 4-15. The extravaganza is being organised by GO Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Embassy in the USA, the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) and the World Food Travel Association.

Ghana has been invited for the first time to participate in the International Restaurant and Food Service Showat the Javit Center, New York City. This show draws in approximately 22,000 and over from across the globe - drawn from the restaurant, food service, and hospitality industries.

The food and beverage business is a huge industry that has linkages to other sectors of the economy including agriculture, food processing, wholesale and distributing, retail, and technology, networking opportunities that cover everything from wine, natural products to restaurant technology and food service professionals with more than 550 vendors to demo (or taste) the latest products and services in the industry.

The Ghana Expo will take the caravan to Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia from New York. There is also a speaking opportunity for Ghana to discuss the Growth of Ghanaian Cuisine and its impact on the US Restaurant Industry.

The 4th Annual U.S-Africa Cultural Expo and Business Matchmaking Conference in Austin Texas will be held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Austin, Texas, from March 8-11, 2018 where delegates will meet with African ministers and Heads of State interested in improving the business environment and foreign investment appeal to their countries. There will be special awards for ex- Presidents and other dignitaries.

Go Ghana, and the World Food Travel Association is going ahead with its plans to make Ghana a year-round foodie destination. The creation of Go Ghana, a new tourism-focused product, will showcase the authentic stories and market ready culinary experiences available in Ghana and promote these to a wider audience.

In the process, Go Ghana seeks to make Ghanaian food the most sought-after African food in America - ultimately replicating the models of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants that populate in America. Ghana’s challenge now is to introduce the country’s cultural heritage to visitors through tastings, experiences and purchases in America.

As for visibility of Ghanaian food and beverage items in the USA, that is a huge question mark. MarketScope Consulting a business advisory consultancy in Ghana plans to develop a comprehensive plan to expand the agri-food tourism offering across the country through programmes of events, training, promotions and marketing with World Food Travel Association that focuses 100 per cent on food and beverage business.

The International show serves as a nexus for key stakeholders to discuss current trends and to showcase innovative solutions for the hospitality industry and top-notch networking opportunities. Cultural products and services from all 10 regions of Ghana will be showcased.

Existing research on food and drink tourism is sparse and hard to find. Not all foodies are the same and destination marketers need current research to competitively position their destinations to the right type of foodies, and leverage food and drink tourism to drive greater economic development and investment.

As experts in the field, the Go Ghana team seeks to ensure that authentic Ghana food experiences become significant economic drive for communities across America and a primary way for travellers to enrich their experiences. Our goal is to open the mind and palette of the people in America, and recount the rich history Ghana has to offer.

Go Ghana will offer a national branded exhibition stand/business lounge platform at all three venues, to showcase the best of Ghanaian culture and connect people to enable participating Ghanaians to meet and interact with prospective investors, business networking as well as socialization between Ghanaians living abroad and Ghanaians participating in the events. Ghana is also to participate in a live cooking demonstration and competitions.

Georgia’s winning recipe, the state’s agribusiness economy is one of the most significant ingredients for the success of food businesses in Georgia. These companies have an opportunity to increase efficiency and profitability with a robust transportation network, Georgia’s mature agribusiness infrastructure, and skilled workforce.

Go Ghana chose Atlanta because after New York, it is ranked second as one of top cities for black entrepreneurs in USA for having the most black-owned companies in the United States, and most notably known as the black professional Mecca. Atlanta is also home to the third largest base of Fortune 500 companies in the Southeast.

Focal sectors to participate are Tourism, Restaurant owners and caterers, Hotels and real estate developers, beverage industry, food processing companies, ICT, Agriculture, Education, Health, Energy and Power, Automobiles and Textiles, Infrastructure and Arts and crafts.

Furthermore, the delegation will hold one-on-one meetings and discussions with local business personalities, as well as host workshops on tourism, trade and investment opportunities in USA.

There will also be women in business round table discussions as well as Business Ball to launch the GO Ghana 2020 Food tourism project at Atlanta, Georgia to enable participating Ghanaians to network with prospective business partners.

Through these special events businesses, delegates will have exclusive access to connect to potential business opportunities with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies in the United States. This event will feature high-calibre networking, business to business matchmaking, and inspiring speakers and also offer a series of other activities such as Promotion of Ghanaian Tourism Products and Investment Projects, academic exchanges and other activities concerning food and cultural tourism commodities which carry local characteristics and ethnicity.

GO Ghana is a Gastronomy, Trade and Investment Project aimed at promoting Ghanaian food tourism abroad managed by Contact Africa Limited, a subsidiary of FACE Africa, a food and hospitality company and MarketScope Consulting, a business and advisory consultancy.

Partnering with this flagship event offers an alignment with a globally respected culinary event focused organization, with a culinary festival brand that is synonymous with one of the world’s most liveable cities, and a multitude of media and consumer based activation opportunities which reach an audience in the millions.

Bringing economies and industry a step closer to Ghana’s food, drink experience and richness, the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), the mother of all tourism federation in Ghana and other governmental tourism stakeholders are to spur greater demand and foster awareness among US consumers of Ghana’s growing food industry.