Give tourism the necessary boost for national development

Every year, World Tourism Day is celebrated on 27 September. Therefore, Monday was marked as World Tourism Day on the theme ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.

Established by the United Nations (UN) and celebrated since 1980, the Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of tourism and how it affects the social, cultural, political and economic values internationally.

The UN says this year’s theme focuses on people who work really hard to make the tourism industry grow.

In Ghana, an event was organisedatWliAfegame in the Hohoe Municipality in the Volta to mark the Day on Monday.

The event was held on the global theme Tourism for Inclusive Growth, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana Tourism Authority and Goldstar Air, a company.

For Ghana to maintain the global theme can mean that the country wants to be in alignment with the goings-on in the tourism industry globally.

This is good because in an era where the coronavirus has devastated economies, especially those which get significant revenue from tourism, such economies should not go solo but united and learn from each other’s experiences to fix the broken pieces in the industry.

Figures from the 2019 Tourism Report by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) indicated that the country earned over $3.312 billion in tourism receipts and the country intends to make $5b from the sector by 2022.

Figures recorded for 2019 indicate that the tourism sector contributed 5.6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Meanwhile the records say in 2021, the cocoa sector in Ghana was forecast to contribute 2.25 billion Ghanaian cedis (GHS), around 390 million U.S. dollars, to the GDP.

This should tell all of us that the tourism sector is likely to support the economy much more than even cocoa, our touted leading export earner.

The choice of WliAfegameas the venue for Ghana’s celebration of the Day was appropriate as the town and its adjoining communities constitute the tourism hub of the Volta Region, hosting tourist sites like Wli Water Falls, Afadjato (Mountains),Tagbo Falls, TafiAtome Monkey Sanctuary and Culture Village.

Such an even puts the communities in the news and causes them to attract attention from tourists and for development, thereby benefitting from the resources they are endowed with.

Also, the day of the even must, for instance, have been a good market day for the people in the area, which would make them believe they are not left out of the scheme of things of the nation.

The Ghanaian Times, therefore, wishes to encourage the hosting of national events at the relevant places and not always in the urban areas.

Tourism is important for job creation and opening up of communities.

Therefore, following the passage of theTourist Sites Regulation (LI 2393) , which provides opportunity  for communities with tourism attraction to partner the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to develop the sites, this paper encourages the GTA to implement the regulation to the fullest for the benefit of the people.

In fact, the tourism sector needs all the boost for it to contribute its full potential to the growth of the Ghanaian economy.

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