The President of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA), Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, has urged the government to make security and basic infrastructure such as good road networks, a priority in a bid to attract more tourists into the country, this year.
With this year christened the ‘Year of Return’, to mark 400 years of slave trade, he said the hospitality industry was expected to receive a boost, hence the need for the government to make adequate preparations to welcome the tourists bound for the country.
“Tourism is multi-faceted. There are issues of visa on arrival, among other things. However, the key things we must consider are safety and security, sanitation, health, and bad roads,” he said.
He admonished the appropriate ministries to fix the loopholes in the sectors to beef up tourism, one of the major contributors to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr stated that the association (as tourism stakeholders) was invited to a series of meetings and the launch of the Year of Return in January and has since initiated steps to map up strategies to ensure that operations were run smoothly to accommodate and ensure a good stay for tourists.
He added that the association was looking forward to holding training, education and awareness creation sessions for members in anticipation of the possible influx of tourists’ visits this year.
“We are strategising to provide basic training sessions as well as education and awareness creation,” he said.
He also reiterated the Ghana Tourism Authority’s pledge to assist the association with information and marketing support to help boost the hospitality industry, especially during the period of the Year of Return.
“The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) promised to provide some information support and marketing support,” Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr said.
Mr Ackah-Nyamike bemoaned the effects of the recent security threats that have hit the country on tourism, citing the murder of investigative journalist, Ahmed Hussein-Suale, and a number of kidnapped cases in Takoradi.
He stated that those threats caused panic and fear and might deter tourists.
He, therefore, entreated security agencies to treat the teeming security canker with utmost urgency.
He gave an assurance that the association would make sure that quality standards were strictly adhered to in order to provide a congenial environment for tourists.