The Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship of the University of Ghana Business School in an attempt to bridge the gap between academia and industry organised a two day tourism marketing exhibition titled “Destination Legon”.
The exhibition was aimed at showcasing the work of student groups on innovations in tourism product development, demonstrating tourism and hospitality experiences with digital applications for potential tourists.
Digital concepts and tools such as Quick Response (QR) Coding, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Block Chain Technology (BCT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were some of the key technological applications.
According to available data, the tourism sector in 2022 contributed more than $2 billion to the Gross Domestic Product with a total of about 800,000 visitors.
The tourism sector which remains one of the most diversified of the economy with the potential to create millions of jobs arguably holds the solution to the unemployment situation bedeviling the country, especially if there was to be a strong collaboration between industry and academia.
According to the Convener of the Exhibition, Prof. Kobby Mensah, “Destination Legon” provides the opportunity for industry players to engage with academia for workable solutions to the demands of the industry.
“Destination Legon is an event that conceptualises innovations from the perspectives of academia to the industry through students’ research on the needs of the sector and providing workable solutions for commercial benefits,” he said.
The ‘Xplor Experience’ team eventual winners of the 8th Edition of Destination Legon Tourism Marketing Exhibition developed an AI chatbot system named Kofi. Through artificial intelligence Kofi gives details about all tourism sites in Ghana. It connects the potential tourist to a travel buddy anywhere in Ghana.
The aim of the Chatbot is to make it easy and smooth for tourists to identify any tourism destination of their choice with less hustle and also enable them have a memorable experience.
Also the group developed a B2B platform with the focus on creating a ticket solution to help track revenues generated from tourist sites and allow tourism business to sign up on the app.
The ticketing solution is to help prevent extortion at tourist sites in Ghana and ensure accountability and transparency. The app allows tourists to buy tickets online.
The Chop Life Tour explored the beautiful town of Ada which historically used to be a slave market and now an eco-friendly tourism site to visit. The group visited the Aqua Safari and also the Nkyinkim Museum. Using Virtual Reality and Quick Response technology as an innovative tool the group exposed visitors to the exhibition to the sights and sounds of Ada as the go-to place for relaxation, conferences and meetings.
The BeyondBorders also created a website system that seeks to broaden the scope of tourism within the private sector. The target market of the group are mainly individuals or mass tourist groups who seek further details about hotels before traveling to Ghana. The groups website will partner with various hotels and have subdomain websites which will allow tourists access various hotels and other tourists sites in the country and the distance of these sites from their hotels. This will afford tourists the opportunity to explore many sites as possible and select hotels that will meet their tourism needs.
The Leave2Live group highlighted Akosombo as a clean, relaxing environment for tourists. Tourists visiting Akosombo can also visit the Shai Hills Forests reserve and the Adomi Bridge. The Akosombo enclave has also witnessed the development of world class hotels. The group developed a QR Code system which allows potential tourists to scan and access all necessary information before embarking on a trip.
The Travel Light group brought the stunning landscape of the Shai Hills closer to the tourists through the use of 3D video experience which affords visitors the opportunity to indulge in an immersive video experience of the beautiful natural scenery of the Shai Hills. These captivating videos transport viewers to the heart of the park, providing a virtual tour that showcases its natural wonders which enhances their desire to have an on-site adventure of the place.
As indicated by the Convener, Prof. Kobby Mensah, Destination Legon provides the opportunity for industry players to engage with academia for workable solutions to the demands of the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman commended the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship of the University of Ghana Business School for the initiative and further urged tourism players to embrace the technologies developed by the students to increase patronage of their services.
“I am impressed with the various innovation solutions developed by the students and I believe the time has come for us to minimize the manual way of doing things if we want our sector to be competitive and attractive to more visitors,” He said.
The Dean of the Business School, Professor Justice N Bawole also expressed gratitude for the tremendous support received from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
The ‘Xplore Experience’ team who developed an AI chatbot system named Kofi emerged eventual winners of the 8th Edition of Destination Legon Tourism Marketing Exhibition.