The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has announced the government’s commitment to spend GH₵350 million to modernise various tourist attractions across the country with support from the World Bank.
He said this commitment is in line with the government’s strategy to position the tourism sector to act as a veritable tool for economic transformation, which will culminate in job and wealth creation for people.
Dr Awal announced this yesterday while addressing journalists at the Minister’s Press Briefing a platform instituted by the Ministry of Information for various state agencies to update the public actions, programmes and projects.
He said the GH₵350 million is being used to develop products that will inure to the growth of the sector.
Some of these products include Pikworo Heritage and Slave Camp Project (1st Phase Done –Receptive Facility) in the Upper East Region and Bonwire Kente museum in Ashanti Region.
Other products include the rehabilitation of the Yaa Asantewaa museum at Ejisu also in the Ashanti Region is slated to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
National Museum Rehabilitated
The Minister said the National museum rehabilitated and reopened to the public is making many gains as it is seeing massive visits more than its initial status.
He noted that from June 13, when it was reopened, to October 15, 2022, the museum had 29,363 visitors against 12,000 for the whole of 2015 before its closure for innovation.
He added that these visits earn the country some GH₵400,000 for the past four months.
Dr Awal noted that the rehabilitation of Kwame Nkrumah Memorial park is ongoing and that it will be reopened by March 2023 before the celebration of the country’s Independence Day on March 6.
He also reiterated the government’s commitment to building five multipurpose domes or amphitheatres for performances within the creative arts space.
Some of the products to be rehabilitated under the World Bank Tourism Development Programme includes Cape Coast, Elmina Castle, Kakum National Park all in the Central, Shai Hills Resource Reserve, W.E. B Du Bois Centre both in the Greater Accra Region, Mole Park National Park in the Northern Region,
Number one contributor to GDP
Dr Awal said the tourism, arts and culture sector currently is the third major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), coming after gold and cocoa but stated the Ministry is working hard to ensure that the sector takes first place and becomes the number one contributor by 2025.
On achieving the target of becoming the number contributor to GDP, Dr Awal said the sector currently employs 680,000 people and plans to add some 150,000 annually.
He said the ministry is also undertaking several initiatives aimed at becoming the number contributor to the GDP including capacity building and customer care, domestic and international tourism drive.
Capacity building and customer care
For capacity building, the Minister said so far, more than 3,000 players in the tourism sector have been trained out of the targeted 20,000 to be trained by the end of 2025.
He noted that it is important to build the capacity of all sector players to equip them with both technical and customer service delivery skills to serve tourists that come to Ghana, saying, “A satisfied customer will not come back but will bring a lot of people”.
Domestic tourism drive
For domestic tourism, the Minister said Ghana has many people moving to other parts of the country, which has its benefits such as learning about other people’s cultures, spending money and helping build national unity and cohesion.
Dr Awal noted that from January to September 2022, some 534,711 domestic tourism visits were recorded out of the projected one million for the entire year.
Comparing this to 2021, which was 334,921 visitations in the same period, 2022 visits increased by more than 60% over 2021.
International tourism drive
The Minister said becoming a number contributor to GDP is achievable because “We are targeting one million visitors this year. Each visitor spends about $2,400 in one week to 10 days. We are hoping and working towards it that by 2024/25, we should have 1.5 million visitors.”
He said the Ministry has recorded 645,047 international arrivals from January 2022 to September 2022 representing 57% growth over the same period in 2021.
The target, when achieved is expected to create 150,000 direct and indirect jobs.
December in GH
The Minister said the remaining target will be achieved in December with the numerous activities approved for celebration.
Dr Awal said so far, the Ghana Tourism Authority has approved 50 events for December in GH, some of which includes; Afrochella, Afro Nation, Akwaaba UK, Rhythms on da Runway, Kids in Tourism, BHIM Concert, Joyful Way and A Taste of Ghana.
Leader in the sub-region
The sector Minister noted that the World Economic Forum Report 2021 on Tourism and Travel Development Index has ranked Ghana as the number one Tourism Destination in West Africa from its previous number three position.
He said what this means is that the whole world’s attention will be on Ghana, translating to many tourists coming to the country.
Dr Awal said the government’s target is to rank as the first tourism destination in Africa by 2025.
He said Ghana has a comparative advantage in tourism and hospitality in West Africa, noting that about 65% of all edifices used during the slave trade are located in Ghana, which can be used to boost heritage tourism.
Ghana also hosts the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and Dr Awal stated that this would enable the country to enhance its position as a venue for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE).
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