The Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, is on the verge of accessing a US$40 million grant from the World Bank for tourism development.
The fund, which is expected by the end of this year through the International Development Association, is to strengthen Ghana’s tourism enabling environment, develop tourism sites and destinations and also provide tourism enterprise support for SME’s.
Tourism Minister, Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku, speaking on the sidelines of the maiden ‘Women in Tourism Summit’, disclosed that a chunk of the fund will specifically be allocated for tourism entrepreneurs and indigenous businesses in the tourism industry.
“Through this intervention, women who make the bulk of SME’s in the tourism industry will have the opportunity to improve business planning, formalization, while upgrading tourism products and services”, she said.
The announcement by the Minister, is expected to provide some relieve for practitioners in the industry as reports indicate that tourism entrepreneurs, particularly women, struggle to access financial assistance to grow their businesses.
In Ghana, the hotel and restaurant sub-sector of the tourism industry employs almost 85 percent of women. However, majority of women do not receive the empowerment they require for their progress.
Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) indicates that women constitutes 60 percent in the tourism sector globally yet, most of them are marginalized in promotions and decent pay.
The maiden ‘Women in Tourism Summit’ was organized by the Women in Tourism in partnership with African Tourism Partners, to identify impactful programmes that could be adopted to leverage tourism as a vehicle for mainstreaming women’s role in the country’s tourism sector.
The event which was under the auspices of the Ghana Tourism Authority, promoted women’s economic empowerment in tourism through partnerships with key stakeholders across the entire travel, tourism and hospitality value chain.
Topics discussed in the summit include, improving entrepreneurship opportunities for women by facilitating their access to funding, participating in supply chains and creating possibilities for career advancements.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe