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Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:39

Tourism: the Backbone of Ghana's Economy

accra1ACCRA, Ghana, April 15, 2014 (Government Press Release) -- Tourism is a strong pillar of the Ghanaian economy. In 2012, it recorded 993,600 international tourist arrivals with corresponding receipts of 1.7 billion USD. The industry provided employment for 359,000 people in the country.

Seen as a strong contributor to the economy, the government is strengthening the industry to enable it (tourism industry) play its role in the overall development of the country.

It was for this reason that the government increased the GH¢ 2million budget to GH¢ 3 million allocation to the Creative industry, underscoring government's recognition of the potentials of the Industry in accelerating Ghana's economic growth.

 

In 2013, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Terkper indicated that government would facilitate the development of cultural villages and enclaves as a critical appendage to tourism which is fast gaining economic relevance as a source of revenue generation and employment creation.

 

This year, the industry is focusing on revamping all the tourist and natural resource centres to help raise funds to support the country's economic development.

 

As parts of efforts to strengthen the industry and put much value on the Ghanaian creative industry, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts launched a Domestic Tourism Promotion Project dubbed: "Explore Ghana," in Accra.

 

The project seeks to encourage Ghanaians to visit the country's attractive tourism sites through vigorous promotion and showcasing of aspects of the cultural heritage and creative arts products and services.

 

In a key note address, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare said the project was aimed at inculcating travel habit while mainstreaming tourism as a major activity among Ghanaians.

 

According to her, the project, which is a joint collaboration with the Graphic Communications Group, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and Voltic mineral water, and other stakeholders, was geared towards promoting Ghana's cultural heritage and its creative arts products and services.

 

"Statistics on domestic tourism indicates that interregional movements are currently taking place within the country as educational and social clubs continues to organise group tours from their institutions to other parts of the country," she stated.

 

Mrs Adjare disclosed that the Ministry with collaborations from the other ministries, municipal and district assemblies as well as other stakeholders were making tourist sites very accessible to all, citing the reconstruction of the Fulfuso-Damongo road in the Northern Region into a first class asphaltic surface road to make the travel to Mole National Park an enjoyable one.

 

To enhance domestic tourism, the Minister noted that the Ghana Tourism Authority was currently reviving the public Holidays Recreational Programmes in all the ten regions in the country, emphasizing that this year was declared by her ministry as a tourism year with emphasis on domestic tourism.

 

Mrs Adjare expressed the hope that travel within the country would aid in the creation of income earning opportunities for residents of rural communities and alleviate poverty through the sale of arts and craft material, provision of hospitality services and tour guiding services among others.

 

Mr Roland Affail-Monney, Director of Radio, GBC, noted that the tourism industry demonstrated its role as a vital tool in the advancement of economies through direct domestic and foreign exchange earnings and through the employment and investment opportunities it generates.

 

He pledged GBC's support to the industry to find innovative ways of stimulating domestic tourism.

 

A former Chief of Staff, Mr Henry Martey Newman said the industry should be redesigned to make it more attractive and valuable to Ghanaians as it was the hub of the country's economic development.

 

Mr Newman said ideas must not just be left unattended to rather, there must be operationalized so as to contribute to the growth of the industry and the economic development as whole.

 

To demonstrate the relevance of domestic tourism, the Ministry took participants around various sites in the Capital city. This was aimed at paving way for domestic tourism to begin and for Ghanaians to appreciate and value what they have as a country. (END)

 

 
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