A total of 100 frontline hospitality personnel and industry players have graduated from the three months French language training programme organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
The programme, which was in partnership with the Ghana CARES Obaatampa Programme’s tourism sector skills revitalization project, aimed at improving the ability of industry players to attract tourists from the Sub-region and beyond as well as provide hotels with multilingual staff who would be receptive to French speakers.
Mr Akwesi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer, GTA said the idea behind the programme was also to broaden the industry players horizon to make sure they attract people from across the sub-region.
“A few years ago we started a programme called the West Africa integrated travel for people who come to Ghana to be able to visit Cote D’ivoire, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and other places within the sub region so that it becomes more interesting for them when they are traveling to West Africa.”
He noted that this was a bit difficult due to the language barrier in West Africa. “Ghana was a bit disadvantaged when comes to language because almost all the francophone countries speak English, so part of the plan is to get some of our industry operators prepared to be able to attract foreign tourists.”
Mr Agyeman said knowing somebody’s language and interacting shows respect, hence he urged the graduands not to relent in their efforts after the programme, but start learning on their own spend time picking up more French because there were opportunities that might come their way because of the language.
“This is a good opportunity for you and the success of this programme also tells us to continue to do more. Our next phase is to engage our operators to ensure that along side having front line officers who can make some decent conversations we also need to have signage that are also in French. So that people come in and feel that we think about them.”
The Chief Executive Officer added that among the arrivals into Ghana, Cote D’ivorie and France were always in the top 10 and they would want to have a lot more francophone countries in that bracket.
He congratulated them for their commitment and time to be able to go through these three months and hope that they would pick up on their own and come back to pass on the knowledge to others.
Mr Richard Agyenim Boateng, Co-ordinator GhanaCARES Obaatampa Programme, GTA said the initiative was designed to help practitioners in the sector overcome issues following the COVID-19 epidemic.
He said a series of training courses had earlier been held in areas like customer services, digital marketing, and tourism product knowledge to build the capacity of tourism practitioners.
“In all we are supposed to train 500 people across the country and its in models. 100 people in five sessions for three months, twice a week, two hours per day.”
Some participants expressed their satisfaction about the training, saying what they had learnt so far would go a long way to project their facilities globally and create an environment for more French-speaking people to patronize their services.