The implementation of Marine Drive Investment Project in Accra, promotion of domestic tourism and the use of technology to create a single automation platform to market tourism related activities would be the drive to expand the size and character of the sector, Katherine Afeku, Minister-designate for Tourism, Art and Culture has said.
She indicated that almost all the projects were going to be a private-sector led initiative with the Ministry creating the enabling environment for their implementation.
Madam Afeku made this known when she appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament yesterday to be vetted for her Ministerial position.
Giving insight as to how the Ministry intended to use the 540 kilometres beach front under the Marine Drive, she said, the project would be the focus to rebrand Ghana as the most preferred tourism site from other competitors in the sub-region.
She said it was envisaged that the project upon completion would host about 55 star hotels, coupled with many facilities, including a number of state-of-the art conference centres which would facilitate the reduction of service charges in the hospitality industry in Ghana to enable the country compete with other countries in the region.
Madam Afeku said many meetings with the indigenes and their traditional leadership were on-going to ensure that all the stakeholders buy into the project in order to also reduce the incidence of open-defecations which had been a major challenge to beachfront development projects.
She said as part of plans by the Ministry to open up domestic tourism, in particular at the Marine Drive, part of Osu Castle (the former seat of government) would be used to establish a Presidential Museum where the living rooms and offices of former Head of State would be opened up to the public as part of tourism development.
Madam Afeku said the Presidential Museum fell under the plans to promote and preserve historical sites, especially, the artifacts of personalities of pre to post independence era.
She said the Ghana Museum and Monument Board as part of measures to redefine domestic tourism had been tasked to take an inventory of such artifacts across the country adding that few of them have already been identified for private-sector participation.
Madam Afeku said the Board has also been asked to engage curators to re-engineer the re-activation of the dormant museums and forts across the country.
Explaining, she said, from a total of 64 museums and forts located around the country, only 18 were in good shape with just three out of that number dominating the traffic of tourists visits.
She said, domestic tourism would be re-packaged with the sector ministry taking a lead role until its expansion across the various Ministries Departments and Agencies with the ultimate target being the participation of the general public.
Mad. Afeku said in view of such plans, mega tourist sites would also be created in all regions until the concept trickled down to the various districts, adding that the potential of education and health tourism would be explored under the scheme.
She said in order to enhance efficiency in the hospitality industry in Ghana, plans were for advanced to establish private-led Hotel Management Training Institute to improve the skills of service delivery in the sector.
With regards to innovations in Arts and culture sector of the Ministry, she said there would be a revisit to a cultural policy introduced by the NPP government some few years ago to create a cultural pride which would be in tandem with modern trend.
She said the Creative Art Bill and a Fund dedicated to Arts and Culture together with a new Creative Art Council which would be supported by a secretariat should be enough to re-ignite the patronage of creative arts in the country.
By Lawrence Markwei