Last week, the Tourism Minister, Catherine Afeku met with the Ghana Tourism Authority and other stakeholders to begin designing major activities to leverage on CNN’s identification of Ghana as one of the 19 best tourism destinations to visit in 2019.
This is a concerted effort and policy direction of the ministry to showcase Ghana to the international community to boost the tourism sector.
The move is expected to open up the country for tourism activities to surge.
Importantly, 2019 marks exactly 400 years since enslaved Africans first arrived in North America in 1619, and Ghana is leveraging on this by marking 2019 as the year of return for the descendants of that brutal trading activity.
Speaking exclusively to the Goldstreet Business, the minister said to enable sector players take advantage of CNN’s identification of Ghana as a major tourism destination – which itself was the result of deliberate action by the Tourism Ministry – the sector is initiating steps to organize major sensitization workshops and programmes for lower and middle hotels across the country.
This would enable tourists see Ghana as a clean service-oriented, and affordable tourism destination.
“We are meeting Ghana Hotels Association to give them this opportunity, build their capacity and sensitize them. Ghana Tourism Authority will constitute a task force to roam around all these possible sites and destinations to let people know the standards and maintain the momentum”, she said.
Meanwhile, as a longer-term measure, the ministry is also initiating moves to build a hospitality training centre to train highly qualified skilled personnel in the hospitality industry due to the enormous benefits in the sector.
Countries such as Kenya and South Africa have already established state of the art hospitality training centres which have proved pivotal in their success in becoming regarded globally as highly attractive tourism destination.
For Ghana to be seen as a major tourism destination, the ministry sees the need to do global marketing and promotion by initiating some domestic policies to boost the sector which include eat Ghana, wear Ghana, feed Ghana and other initiatives.
Aside these, there have been some major activities that have recently enhanced Ghana’s reputation as a major tourism hub. They included the Chale Wote Street Festival, All Africa Music Awards Event and Hollywood Full Circle Festival.
These activities have culminated into a deliberate effort for Ghana to be on the radar as a major tourism destination with emphasis on what events are happening, what unique tourist sites and experiences are available to visitors and where the country is located.
The tourism sector is the fourth highest foreign exchange earner after gold, cocoa and oil which contribute to over US$2 billion to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the sector is expected to grow by 2.3 percent this year.
By Dundas Whigham