Domestic tourism to support economic growth – Minister

The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts is repackaging the domestic tourism sector to make it an established lifestyle among all strata of Ghanaian society, re-enforce national cohesion, and accelerate economic development Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, the sector minister, has disclosed.

Speaking at the 10th National Tourism Awards in Accra, she said there are current developments in the sector — in line with the 15-year Tourism Development Plan — to properly position tourism in the country to fast-track economic growth.

“Tourism can be best appreciated if we are able to reconfigure the existing value chain and provide access for more Ghanaians to benefit from it.

“The main idea now is to make domestic tourism an established lifestyle activity among all ages and strata of the Ghanaian society. This, we believe, will re-enforce national cohesiveness and accelerate economic development.

“The ministry is unrelenting in its efforts to provide the requisite training and skills development necessary for enhancing quality service delivery to improve professionalism and superior customer relations to both local and foreign tourists.

“Plans are far advanced toward this cause, to upgrade the current Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) into a fully-fledged national tourism training academy with satellite campuses in all the ten regions in the country.

“The National Commission on Culture (NCC) is partnering with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on a scheme to train 100,000 youth in employable skills in all ten regions of the country; this will give the sector a boost because it will lead to the production of high quality craft items for the tourist and export market,” she said.

Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare said government is committed to boosting tourism in the country, as it is a dynamic sector with tremendous potential to boost inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty through employment-creation and the opening-up of lesser-developed rural areas.

She said there are also some key interventions from the ministry to inject sanity into the operation of tourism enterprises in the country, one of which is the ongoing collaboration with the police to clamp down on unregistered and unlicenced tourism establishments.

She urged sector players to contribute their Tourism Levy regularly as the Fund will be used to finance tourism-related projects and programmes, such as marketing and promotion, capacity building, and infrastructural development.

The Ghana Tourism Awards were instituted to drive service quality in the country’s tourism sector so as to highlight it as a competitive tourism destination.

The awards recognise and reward deserving sector actors and partners who have supported various facets of the country’s tourism development efforts.

Best Western Premier Hotel won the award for “Best Four-Star Hotel of the Year” while Africa World Airlines picked the award for “Domestic Airline of the Year”.

Other award winners were Boabeng Fioma Monkey Sanctuary and Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, which picked up exemplary awards for “Sustainable Ecotourism” and “Payment of one percent Tourism Levy” respectively.

Source : B&FT