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Monday, 28 September 2009 13:06

Experts Converge To Deliberate Ghana’s Tourism Development

ACCRA, Ghana, Sept 27 (GNA) - Tourism experts and think tanks would meet in Accra, from September 22- September 27, to mark World Tourism Day.

Taleb Rifai, Interim Secretary-General of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is expected to lead a delegation to share ideas on the theme: “Tourism Celebrating Diversity.”


A release issued by the Ghana Tourists Board (GTB) said issues to be discussed include diversity, globalisation and tourism, which would be led by Tidjani Hadad, Member of UNWTO strategic group and former Minister of Tourism in Tunisia.


Other dignitaries attending this year’s tourism day celebration include Mohamoud Gheddi, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia who would speak on the topic: “Cultural and Environmental Diversity and Tourism.”


Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Juliana Azumah-Mensah would speak on the topic: “Tourism – Strengthening The Ties Between Nations.”


The day is expected to look at the uniqueness of the different cultures of the world and how they could be collaborated to create unity.


International media organisations from Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, United States, Canada, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Italy and South Africa would be in Ghana to cover the event.


As part of the celebrations, there would be a global online photo competition with the aim of looking at tourism as a vehicle that bridges cultures, intensifies understanding and fosters peace.


The online photo competition would also be an opportunity for people around the world to share their customs to capture how cultural diversity enriches the lives of people and unites people.


Other activities to mark the event include a press trip, tourism exhibition, tourism conferences on the theme, musical concert, gastronomy fair, tour of Tetteh Quarshie’s Cocoa farm; quiz competition and a communication workshop on the theme.


Around 698,069 tourists visited Ghana last year, generating about $1.4 million as revenue for the country.


Gifty Quansah, Acting Marketing Manager of Ghana Tourists Board (GTB), announced this at a pre-tour briefing for a group of foreign and local travel writers in Accra.


The 12 writers from Ghana, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and  the  Netherlands toured some sites and communities in Accra as part of the United Nations World Tourism Day celebration in Ghana.


She told the writers that about 30 to 40 per cent of the tourists were visitors of friends and relatives, comprising Ghanaians living abroad who visited home.


Quansah said lately, there was growing Chinese and Russian tourist interest in the country.


She told the travel writers that there was also a new state interest in the beautification of “our beaches” following the oil discovery in the country last year, adding that, that was expected to boost tourist arrivals in the country soon.


Quansah said government recently launched a programme that would create about 10,000 jobs for the youth who would clean, maintain and secure the country’s beaches for the comfort of tourists.


“The tourism policy is now channelled towards sustainable job creation and poverty reduction across the country,” she said.


The Accra visit took them to the offices of the Ghana Rural Ecotourism and Travel (GREET), an ecotourism and nature conservation resource organisation, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, The Usher Fort Prisons, Abola and James Town, all in the Ga Mashie area in Accra.


The Director of GREET, Urji Ebba said 31 ecotourism sites had been identified across the country and her organisation had trained local people to manage them effectively, to generate funds to develop their communities.


At the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Eddy Sowah, Chief Curator, gave the travel writers the history of Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah’s struggle for power, his overthrow in February 1966, his death, embalmment and immortalisation.


The writers had the rare opportunity of seeing some of the physical items that Dr Nkrumah used in his life time, both as a student and as the First President of Ghana.

On display were Dr Nkrumah’s famous and mysterious walking stick, the metallic casket in which his mortal remains were brought from Guinea, his bed, dressing mirror, wooden chest, over coat, pen and pen holder, lamp holder, spectacle frame case and chair.


There were also books written by and about Dr Nkrumah, including his doctorate thesis titled “Mind and Thought in Primitive Society – A Study in Ethno-Philosophy”.

At Abola, the writers saw the fishing beach, which, according to Sam Nii Baddo, Chief Executive Officer of Home Tour Company, was just a shadow of what it used to be – a fishing harbour.


While touring Abola and James Town townships, the tourists ran into a funeral in the middle of the street and had to turn and use another route.

When asked why funerals were held in the middle of the streets in Accra, Baddo said “it is a culture that cannot be changed because that is just how our society is.”

Ben Ohene-Ayeh, Public Relations Manager of GTB, said the visit of the travel writers was an opportunity for Ghana to be showcased on the world stage through the foreign media.

Under the auspices of the Ghana Tourism Federation, the travel writers would visit other tour sites in the Central, Eastern, and Ashanti regions.


The seven-day World Tourism Day celebration is on the theme: “Tourism, Celebrating Diversity.” It is being attended by international travel writers, local and foreign exhibitors, policy makers, tour operators and tourism think-tanks.




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