Tourism in Ghana is a $1.6Bn industry employing over 290,000 people, responsible for 6.2% of GDP. Recently, business travel to Ghana, in particular travel related to oil and gas exploration, has intensified, and in response to such demand Lufthansa will increase Accra-Frankfurt flights to seven times a week (note: Germans spent $8bn on foreign travel last year, much of it business related).
“Investors are focused on long-term prospects. It is forecasted that the hospitality market will grow eight percent annually.” says Adrian Landtry, General Manager of the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra. Lundtry, 27 years in the hospitality industry, five years in Ghana, says the discovery of oil and gas has positively impacted on his sector: “Labadi Beach has certainly seen a tremendous windfall. Ghana is now officially an investment destination.”
Located opposite the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre, the hotel has direct, private access to the Atlantic Ocean, and to one of Ghana’s cleanest, safest beaches. The hotel is owned by the Legacy Group of South Africa which manages 20 hotels on the continent. “We’ve made sure that each property speaks for itself. We’d rather have each one stand alone than try to paint over with a company brand, or logo. Unlike some rivals, our properties do not get lost in the blandness of branding.”
The Labadi Beach Hotel has hosted the Queen of England, and the Prime Ministers of Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and France. It has been voted as best 5-star hotel in West Africa two years running, garnered a prestigious award from the International Business Travellers’ Magazine, and is warmly recommended by Trip Advisor.
“None of this has been achieved via mediocrity. We benchmarked on the best international standards. When you check in to our hotel you could as easily be in Vienna, New York or Sydney, ” says Lundtry. Another tremendous advantage, he continues, is that personnel have an unusually long length of service. “The average is 12.4 years. This means I have people who know precisely what they are doing.’’
The Hotel believes in being ‘responsible stewards’ of the land: “We use only internationally certified biodegradable chemicals. We invest in energy-efficient air conditioning. We recycle our plastics and glass, and also our water so that we can re-use it for watering our plants.”
The hotel is also involved in vital corporate social responsibility programmes within its operational area. With support from Vodafone Ghana and MDL, it recently gifted $14,000 to the Teshie Children’s’ Home. It also donated to the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO).
“The challenge now is to maintain the standard - we believe the true hallmark of a first-class product is consistency across all areas of operation.’’
With an $18m renovation successfully completed, Landtry’s ambitions look eminently achievable.