Pa Gya, literary festival in Accra

Some festival attendees

The city of Accra has just witnessed another exciting leg of Pa Gya, a literary festival that started six years ago.

The three-day event included activities such as readings, panel discussions, performances, book launches and sales, literary awards and many more.

Over the past decade, an ever-increasing number of destinations around the world have invested in cultural events such as literary festivals, given the remarkable growth in the cultural tourism product. The tendency of tourists to seek new and unique cultural experiences also explains this change.

For us, tourism professionals, an artistic event is a tourist attraction in itself. Indeed, cultural events create a variety of impacts on the local economy and host communities. The impacts generated can be short or long term, positive or negative. A literary festival impacts the destination in economic terms while leaving a legacy of benefits that last longer than the event itself.

Sponsored and primarily hosted by the Goethe-Institut, Pa Gya engaged in all literary forms such as fiction, poetry, spoken word, comic and graphic novels, creative non-fiction such as travel writing and blogging literary. For the first time this year there was a session on how media houses create literary content.

In its early days, the festival was quite modest in scope and attendance. But from what customers have experienced this time around, Pa Gya has risen to Ake Nigeria festival stature. It now offers art lectures, artistic and literary exhibitions, film screenings and many more. Also present were writers, publishers and booksellers, all eager to network and sell their books.

Indeed, literary artists, scholars, publishers, illustrators, librarians, literary agents, bloggers and many other literary practitioners from various parts of the world also found a welcoming space to present their works and fellowship during the festival.

If residents and local stakeholders see the benefits of an event, they become supportive of hosting and even sponsoring in the future. Literary festivals are events that incorporate literary culture into their theme; they celebrate literary culture and integrate it into their organization. Arts festivals and cultural events have always been associated with urban life and are a dynamic ingredient of cultural policies.

Hosting cultural events and festivals has become a strategic element in the tourism development of destinations to attract visitors and encourage investment, improve the image and boost the local economy. Events can be a form of tourist offer of a destination in which the content of the events is associated with the resources of the place where it takes place.

The national tourism organization in Ghana can learn from this trend. In Italy, for example, literary and book festivals represent a proven and innovative formula approved by publishing houses, book lovers and the general public. The Italian script for these types of events varies in theme, style, location, and buying and selling opportunities. They provide an opportunity for an author to come into direct contact with the public and are diverse in their stories and origins.

Many festivals are organized in small villages as well as in suggestive places; because they delimit the places where they are lodged. A typical example is the Taobuk-Taormina Book Festival, an international literary festival held in the city of Taormina, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the largest region in Italy. .

Writers, poets, literary performers, scholars, publishers, illustrators, librarians, literary agents, bloggers and many other literary practitioners from Ghana, Africa, the black diaspora and around the world find a welcoming space to showcase their works and fraternize during the festival. In 2021, we featured guests from 17 countries around the world and hosted online and in-person audiences.

Over the past six editions, Pa Gya has brought Ghana’s literary community together and provided platforms for networking and initiatives.

This year it hosted a wide range of guests including Kwaw Ansah, Molara Wood, Dr Ọbádélé Bakari Kambon, Dr Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Philippe Sands and Vamba Sherif. The others were Professor Ato Quayson, Dr Eghosa Imasuen, Efe Paul Azino, Dr Wale Okediran, Kwaku-Sakyi-Addo, Amandzeba Nat Brew and Ryan Van Winkle.

The others were Kofi Akpabli, Pelu Awefoso, Michelle Alipao Chikaonda, Agur Schiff, Mohammed Ahmed Polo, Alba Kunadu S. Amoo-Gottfried, Dr. Asangba Reginald Taluah, Ama Asantewa Diaka, Aseye Tamakloe, Empi Baryeh, Ivor Agyeman-Duah and Katleho Kano . Shoro.
Pa Gya is organized by the Writers Project of Ghana. Some of this year’s sponsors are the Dutch Embassy, ​​Foundation for Contemporary Art, European Union Delegation, Anglogold Ashanti and DAkpabli Publishers.

This piece draws attention to literary festivals as a tourism opportunity for a destination. It highlights the important role festivals play within the local communities of the venue, including facilitating social cohesion and the image of the venue. It is based on the perceptions expressed by the different categories of local actors involved in an international literary festival.

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