Ghana joined the rest of the world on Wednesday to mark this year’s World Tourism Day at Ada in the Greater Accra Region.
Celebrated annually on September 27 to showcase the tourism sector’s unique ability to drive economic development, preserve and promote culture and heritage and provide opportunities for all, this year’s event was on the theme “Tourism and Green Investments.”
The theme is a component of the global theme, “Tourism and Green Investments; Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity”, selected by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for member countries to celebrate the 2023 World Tourism Day.
Ghana’s celebration of the day was characterised by various activities in Ada including tree planting exercise and exhibition on September 25, fun games, regatta, and exhibition on September 26, tour of Nkyinkyim Museum, a historical museum and exhibition.
Speaking at a durbar, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, said following the disruption of the tourism sector by the COVID-19 pandemic, green investments in the tourism industry had become crucial to contribute to far-ranging economic, social and environmental benefits for the host country and communities.
In line with the UNWTO emphasis on the need for targeted investment in people, the planet and prosperity to unlock the potential of tourism to deliver more inclusive and sustainable growth, he said, the Ministry was putting in place targeted investments to continuously promote the sector to take advantage of the economic benefits of the industry.
He stated that, this year’s UNWTO celebration presented Ghana the opportunity to enhance the promotion of sustainable tourism, popularly known as eco-tourism, through preservation of cultural heritage and the environment as well as investing in people and the planet to help realise the “Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and See Ghana” agenda.
Through the Ghana Tourism Development project, Mr Okraku-Mantey said, the ministry had commenced investments in tourism-related interventions at some selected eco-tourism sites including Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Paga Crocodile Pond, Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary, Aburi Botanical Gardens, Nzulezu Village on stilts, Mount Afaja and Kintampo Waterfalls.
Additionally, he noted that, the ministry was renovating museums and monuments such as the National Gallery with an ultra-modern facility and the refurbished Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.
He stated that, as part of the agenda to develop the skills set needed to improve the tourism sector, the Ministry through the Ghana Tourism Development Company had trained 3,000 drivers at the KNUST commercial area in Kumasi.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman, urged Ghanaians to embrace technology, innovation, sustainability to drive the tourism sector.
He, however cautioned against degradation of the environment through poor waste management, illegal mining, and deforestation, among others, which threatened the sustainability of the planet.
Nene Agudey Obitchere III, Mankralo of Ada State, emphasised the need to sensitise Ghanaians on environmental protection practices to help their response to environmental degradation.
Kwasi Eyison, Vice President of the Ghana Tourism Federation, urged for advocacy and formulation of policies that promote green investments in the country.
FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, ADA