As part of measures to make tourism play its leading role in the economic progress of the country, Ghana is working towards attracting two million international arrivals that will culminate in a $4 billion spending impact by 2025, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated.
He said as part of the measures put in place, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture had been charged with ramping up its promotional activities, policies and programmes to achieve the target.
President Akufo-Addo announced this yesterday at the first-ever Presidential Summit on Tourism at the Peduase Presidential Lodge in the Eastern Region.
The two-day summit being organised at the instance of the President attracted participants from all government agencies and departments, as well as private sector stakeholders in the industry to the brainstorming session.
It is on the theme: “Rethinking Tourism for Economic Growth and Job Creation”.
In what is described as rare among presidential correspondents from various media houses, President Akufo-Addo after the opening ceremony and all the activities, sat in for the presentation of papers, panel discussions and questions and answers.
Globally, is estimated that by 2033 every 10 jobs will be created by the tourism sector.
Referring to data, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the tourism sector was growing once again following the lull caused by COVID-19.
He noted that international arrivals saw an 81 per cent growth in 2022 as against the 2021 figures, while domestic tourism also grew from 600,000 in 2021 to almost a million in 2022 and that underpinning these numbers were people who were employed, farmers providing food, caterers and chefs, tour operators, drivers and handicraft producers, musicians and artists, among others.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the government was placing tourism at the forefront of national development and was, thus, tasking the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority to continue to lead the charge.
“We are building a thriving tourism economy, with many tourism sites currently undergoing improvements.
We are determined to build a tourism economy where hospitality, arts and culture are used as tools to spur economic development,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo proposed that the summit should focus on a four-fold approach ranging from reservation promotion to policy leadership and partnership.
He explained that the country must preserve what it had, adding that “we are the guardians of Ghana’s natural wonders and it is our responsibility to safeguard them for future generations and strengthen our commitment to environmental conservation, combat climate change and promote eco-friendly practices in the tourism industry.
That, he explained, would preserve the natural heritage and attract eco-conscious travelers who sought destinations that were aligned with their values and who were growing in substantial numbers across the world.
President Akufo-Addo called for the amplification of Ghana’s unique appeal on the global stage through strategic marketing campaigns, enhanced digital presence and targeted investments in infrastructure to showcase the diversity the country offered.
Regarding policy leadership, he suggested that the public sector must lead in creating the right climate and platform for investments to grow and that it was, for this reason, the government was prioritizing the e-Visa regime, the Homeland Return Act and the visa on arrival processes.
He explained that in the last few years, the government had enacted legislation for tourism sites and attraction through the Ghana Tourism Authority and would enact further legislations and make regulations that would help develop the sector.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the tourism sector required partnerships and a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders and called for a united effort, shared knowledge, and pooled resources.
” Let us create a comprehensive framework that facilitates dialogue, cooperation and innovation.
Together we can develop sustainable tourism models, empower domestic entrepreneurs and ensure that the benefits of tourism reach every corner of our beloved country,” he added.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, noted that the investment in the arts, culture and tourism sector was yielding positive results because tourist arrival numbers grew by 47 per cent in the first quarter of this year from 170,000 in the previous quarter to 247,000 arrivals.
He suggested that if each tourist spent $3,000 it would have a positive impact on the economy.
“Mr President, our Destination Ghana Project is on course and I want to assure all the stakeholders that we are not resting.
We want you to give us your support.
Partner us and make Ghana the choice for tourism,” Dr Awal added.