It was a battle of wits and ideas as some final year students of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), presented their projects at 4th edition of the ‘Destination Legon Exhibition.’
The Destination Legon Exhibition is a franchise by UGBS which is organized for level 400, MBA and MPhil students offering Tourism Marketing at the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. As part of the project students are obliged to identify potential or existing attractions of villages and towns, adopt them and demonstrate how they can be developed and marketed as tourist destination. Over the years, there have been calls for some of these projects by the students to be churned into businesses outside the scope of academic exercise.
Dr. Kobby Mensah, co-convener and lecturer at UGBS reiterating the call indicated that most of the students are keen on tapping into the business opportunities in the projects. ‘’This is a project that they do and obviously it is scoring as part of their academic exercise but of course a lot of them have expressed that willingness interest to push the project forward to make sure that they could turn them into small businesses.
He indicated that it is about time those responsible for growing businesses came in to support the initiative. “To turn this into small business we need the state institutions responsible to help us get these ideas that have been developed to become businesses and I hope the ministries and the stakeholders for making sure that we grow businesses in this country will take it up.
Destination Legon is the practice part of the course, Tourism Marketing that is taught at UGBS with the idea that students are equipped with skills that they can use to market destinations just like as products and services are marketed.
According Dr. Mensa, ‘’because these days we are talking about states as products, state as services and then we are saying that before you will be able to successfully attract people, these states, regions, cities or villages must be packaged and sold as products. So our aim is that, yes we have a lot of destinations but we don’t have the capabilities or the competence in selling them and making sure that they look attractive to tourists. So basically UGBS has taken it upon itself to develop that capacity so that our students when they go out there would not only work with the products and services but also work with regions, could work with cities, could work with villages, municipalities to market and attract tourists to the place. ‘’
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, who was a guest at the event said he was delighted at the initiative and the as an organization they feel obliged to find ways to partner with UGBS to bring some of the ideas to fruition and reality.
‘’So from the academic point of view, it is an excellent idea but now we need to look at how we can make it practical. I am very surprised about some of the ideas, for example, ‘La Maamli’ and the way they have packaged it, you can actually live it and bring it to fruition, I think it will help all of us. I spoke to Dr. Kobby Mensah and we will sit down together and find ways to support it more effectively,’’ he stated. This year’s saw ten groups battling it out for supremacy as each presented their ideas on how their adopted destinations could be marketed to generate revenue. At the end, one group, ’24 Hours in Accra,’ that seeks to take tourists on an experiential tour of the capital city emerged winners.