By Maxwell Nkansah.
The Tourism Minister, Dr. Mohammed Awal, said the government is investing GH350 million to modernize tourist attractions and embark on product development to enhance the sector’s fortunes.
Addressing the press at the Ministry of Information yesterday, Dr. Awal said the investment is in line with the government’s commitment to making the sector more viable through support from the World Bank.
Dr. Awal said that with the 2021 World Economic Forum Report on Tourism and Travel Development Index placing Ghana as the number-one tourism destination in West Africa, up from its previous third position, Dr. Awal is optimistic that gains made by the sector since 2019 are yielding positive results.
According to him, there are more than 65 percent of slave forts and castles in West Africa. This, as well as being the location of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s headquarters, offers Ghana an opportunity to become the leader in meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) on the continent.
In taking a key look at ministry data, domestic tourist arrivals from January to September 2022 totalled 534,711, compared to 334,921 for the same period in 2021, representing a roughly 60% increase.
Also, international tourist arrivals from January to September 2022 are at 645,047 – representing 57 percent growth over last year’s numbers.
The ministry, according to Dr. Awal, is targeting to reach the one million-visitor milestone by December 2022, after completion of the month’s flagship event, “December in GH.”
Indeed, about 50 events have already been registered and approved for the upcoming “December in GH.”
Dr. Awal reiterated that the ongoing rehabilitation of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra is very strategic to give the edifice a befitting world-class look.
The government is spending up to GH30 million on rehabilitation of the mausoleum to give it the proper status to improve visitor experience.
The minister further stated that the ministry has trained and invested in the capacity development of 3,000 operators from various sub-sectors of the tourism industry this year, with the target of investing in some 20,000 personnel by 2024.
According to him, these are all initiatives that contribute to job and wealth creation for the people. The tourism sector, according to the World Bank, creates two out of every ten jobs. This is clear evidence for us to revamp the sector and make it viable as the number-one employer in our country, he said.
The sector’s other initiatives include the construction of amphitheatres for music and entertainment purposes and the development of the exportable cultural and heritage products sector.