Ghana has recorded over 400,000 international arrivals for the first half of this year, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has said.
This he said it is against the target of one million tourists expected for the whole of 2022.
The Minister disclosed this during the launch of this year’s ‘December in Ghana’ event in Accra yesterday.
The ‘December in Ghana’ aimed to promote tourism and make Ghana the global destination for Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Dr Awal said, considering the fact that the second half of each year was the peak period for international arrivals, the target of the one million tourists would be achieved.
“Events such as Afro Nation, Afrochella, and Essence among others would help drive tourists to Ghana,” he added.
He expressed delight over the significant contributions the ‘Year of Return and Destination Ghana’ had made to the country’s tourism drive as record number of tourists were visiting the country, adding “In 2019, 1.1 million visitors came to Ghana following the launch of the ‘Year of Return.”
He revealed that the National Museum which was recently rehabilitated and modernised had also recorded over 14,000 visitors in just six weeks against a figure of 12,874 for the whole of 2015 prior to its closure in 2016.
Dr Awal indicated that Ghana’s tourism sector had the potential to contribute significantly to national economic transformation, adding “the country is not only gifted with rich and diverse culture but also home to some of the best flora and fauna in the most exquisite ecotourism sites of the world.”
He reiterated that the government was committed to establish an ultra-modern $10 million tourism and hospitality training school in Accra expected to begin next year.
The training school which would be funded under the Ghana Tourism Development Project with support from the World Bank, according to the minister would provide training for people in the tourism and hospitality value chain to enhance customer service practice in hotels across the sub-region.
“Ghana and Africa need to showcase our best to the world in order to attract the much-needed investment and jobs for the youth. We’re determined to build a thriving tourism economy where hospitality, arts and culture are used as tools for economic development,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, said the ‘December in Ghana’ which had become one of the biggest activations in the tourism sector had not only helped boost the economy but also made Ghana as the ‘go-to’ destination in December and the rest of the year.
He expressed gratitude about the many new activities planned for this year’s ‘December in Ghana’ event saying some of the activities would included; African Legends Night, the Bloggers Festival, Bukom Boxing Fiesta, the Ga Mashie Jams and returning events such as the Afrochella, Afro Nation, Akwaaba UK, Joyful Way, Westside Carnival, Kids in Tourism, GT Bank Concert, Y Havoc, the Samba Festival among others.
He urged Ghanaians to support the initiative by participating in the planned activities, and in effect, help make the yuletide celebration in Ghana a unique attraction, both locally and internationally.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR