Arts, culture, and heritage are tools of creativity, skills and talents with the potential to create wealth and prosperity, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister for Arts, Tourism and Culture, has said.
He said this at the sod cutting ceremony for the rehabilitation and modernisation of The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park (KNMP), in Accra.
He said the current state of the Park necessitated its shut down for a thorough repair and modernisation to rake in revenue.
He expressed excitement at government’s allocation of USD 3 million for the repair works expected to be completed in nine months.
The Minister said the renovation works, funded by the World Bank Tourism Development Project, would include a presidential library, new training centre, a restaurant, VVIP lounge, an artistic freedom wall, and a music and light fountain.
The Park, the Minister said, would generate approximately 50 more direct jobs when completed.
“The reestablished Park will honour the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah as well as other founding fathers of the nation, Edward Akuffo-Addo, Arko Adjei, Obetsebi Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta and J.B Danquah,” he said.
Dr Awal said it would solidify Ghana’s status as the leading centre of Pan Africanism and diasporan study by further concretising the Pan-African Triangular Centre, which consisted of the KNMP, WEB DU Bois Centre for Pan-Africanism and the George Padmore Library.
“All these developments will help boost tourism both domestic and international and improve Ghana’s rating as an investment and trade destination,” he said.
The Minister said Tourism, Arts and Culture had the potential to significantly contribute to national development and job creation.
“The struggle for Ghana’s independence for which Dr. Nkrumah and the other founding fathers committed their lives needed to be complemented by prolonged economic development, which will create access to education, healthcare and decent jobs for Ghanaians.”
The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park is said to witness an average of 98,000 visitors a year before COVID-19, and after the rehabilitation, the Ministry anticipates that it will receive 400,000 more visitors each year.
The Minister noted that to increase business, customer-focused approach should be improved, which called for customer-focused behaviour from all participants throughout the tourism value chain.
He said, “a satisfied visitor, whether domestic or foreign, will not only return but recommend the destination to others.”
He said while annual revenue from gold and cocoa was less than USD 4 billion, the annual revenue from tourism and the creative industries could exceed USD 4 billion provided attractions were properly marketed and packaged.
“In line with this, the Ministry will soon embark on the rehabilitation and modernisation of other tourism and heritage assets, including the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Mole Park, Shai Hills and Kakum Park to enhance these iconic sites,” he said.