Tourism Ministry secures US$50 million for improvement project

Mrs Catherine Afeku (inset) addressing Journalists at the meet the press yesterday.Photo:Ebo Gorma

Mrs Catherine Afeku (inset) addressing Journalists at the meet the press yesterday.Photo:Ebo Gorma

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has secured a US$50 million facility from the World Bank to support the Ghana Tourism, Art and Culture Sector Improvement Project.

The sector minister, Catherine Afeku, announced this when the ministry took its turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday.

The programme was to create the opportunity for the minister to brief the media on the ministry’s activities in the past year and responded to a number of questions from journalists.

The project, according to the minister, is aimed at strengthening institutions and stakeholders and improving the competitiveness of the players in the tourism sector.

She said the Tourism, Arts and Culture Sector Improvement Project would create jobs in the sector and encourage women and the youth to invest in the sector, apart from supporting reforms in the country’s Tourism Strategy and Sector Development Implementation Roadmap, as a starting point towards the revitalisation of the sector.

It is expected to foster inter-sectorial stakeholder linkages and efforts coordination, and build capacities to create a skilled workforce in the hospitality, tourism and arts industry

Mrs. Afeku indicated that the government’s vision for tourism was to reposition the sector to make it a key pillar for national development, adding that as part of plans to boost local tourism, the government had made plans to build hotels which would be named ‘Akwaaba’ hotels

“These hotels will be affordable and help Ghanaians develop an interest in domestic tourism,” she told the media and added that the ‘Akwaaba’ concept formed part of several initiatives by the government to boost the country’s tourism industry

Mrs. Afeku noted that the affordable hotels would be constructed with the support of the private sector and explained that the government’s role would be to provide land while the private sector provide the funds for the construction.

Already, she said some persons had expressed interest in the initiative, adding, “when the projects are completed, low patronage of tourism will be a thing of the past”

The minister also announced plans by the ministry to set up a tourism channel to help promote local tourism and indicated that license for the television channel had already been secured.

Other initiatives of the ministry, she said, were the construction of a Cocoa Museum, development of the Tema Golf Club, construction of an iconic Tower in Tema to indicate the centre of the world and also establish a call centre to handle enquiries and queries about the country’s tourism.

In the past year, she said the ministry had launched the Marine Drive Project, commissioned the Gushegu Smock Village, rehabilitated the Paa Grant grave, and outdoored over 30 tourism ambassadors.

“The ministry has started the ‘See Ghana, Eat, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana’ initiative to promote the consumption and patronage of local products,” she said.

By Yaw Kyei

 

 

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