Accra, Oct. 03, GNA - Washington DC, the American State, which hosts the second largest population of Ghanaians, outside Ghana, is poised to attract more visitors, especially from West Africa, with its partnership South African Airways.
The partnership, to promote Destination DC, is an effort to showcase the many attractions that Washington has to offer visitors.
Mr Elliot Fergusson II, President and Chief Executive Officer of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organisation for Washington DC, said while it was important to ensure the safety of Americans and visitors to America, it was also important to ensure that the messaging from officialdom did not make people feel unwelcome in America.
“We respect the intentions of the President to try to make sure that America is a safe place and therefore, try to keep terrorism out of the country but we want to make sure that the … people don’t feel welcomed overall,” he stated.
Mr Fergusson was speaking at luncheon with a section of the media in Ghana to discuss Destination DC and its offerings for Ghanaian customers.
Destination DC, he said, worked closely with the US Travel Association to deliver the messaging and also communicated with elected officials to communicate the importance and impact of international visitation and the economic spin from it.
He said they had held discussions with the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Transportation, Homeland Security and all those who played a key role to make sure they understood the situation.
Speaking on the attractions of DC as a travel destination, he explained that the city had a lot to offer beyond the ‘official’ impression portrayed on television.
These include free access to a vast array of Smithsonian museums, theatre experiences and award-winning dining among others.
The most important offering of Washington DC, he said, was affordability, as in many places such as the Smithsonian museums and zoo, which were free, thus reduced the budget for families and individuals visiting the city.
For Ghanaian travellers who loved to shop; wanted cultural experiences, as well as touches of their own culture, while they were in DC, he said, the city had the second largest Ghanaian population outside of Ghana and also had an array of Ghanaian restaurants.
“…plus all the cultural things you can see and do for free. The value added associated with making Washington DC a part of your itinerary in coming to the United States, in our opinion, is incredible, especially if you’re spending the whole day doing things that are free, then you’re able to spend more on a great meal, shopping or going to concert or sporting event in DC,” he stated.
The city, he said, had invested about $11.8 billion in new developments, including two new museums, a wharf and hotels, among others.
“The Museum of the Bible, which is set to open next month in the heart of DC, will showcase the history and impact of the Bible,” he said.
Destination DC is currently running a campaign dubbed “MyDCcool”, which originated from travellers calling DC, cool. Travellers in this campaign take and post photos of their experiences in DC.
Ms Gloria Yirenkyi, Country Manager of South African Airways in Ghana, said the airline was currently the only one providing direct flights to Washington from West Africa, out of Accra and Dakar, Senegal, through Dulles airport in Washington.
She said the developments in Washington, including developments at Dulles, would help to ease connections for the airline’s passengers.