The reconstituted board of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) was inaugurated in Accra yesterday with a call on them to institute policies to promote the sector.
The 10-member board included Dr Edith Dankwa, chairperson; Mr Kingsley Ofosu Ntiamoh, Acting Executive Director, Mr Hudu Issah, Nana Kodwo Eduakwa V, Nana Ofosuaa Ofori-Atta Ayim, Mr Umar Abdul-Hamid Esq., Dr Samuel Adu Gyamfi, Professor WaziAppoh, Dr Edwin Bodjawah and Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, as members.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, who led the board to swear the oath of office and secrecy urged them to initiate strategies to help build the tourism industry.
He said Ghana had the most tourist attractions in the world with over 30 museums and castles, but did not make good use of it.
The Minister said some tourist sites, such as the National Museum that could generate revenue for the country, had been closed down for about seven years, but the ministry with support from the government had renovated it,among other mausoleums, and would be open to the public by the President between May and June.
He explained that the National Museum, when opened, would be made available to tourists, and official cars used by past Heads of State and Presidents which had been put in good shape would be used for rentals to generate revenue for the country.
Dr Awal stated that the Ministry was expected to generate $2.3 billionfrom tourism this year, adding that “Last year we did close to $2 billion and we want to create 150,000 jobs out of tourism and culture activities this year.”
According to him, international tourism roseby over 100 per cent last year and expecting one million this year with 800,000 for domestictourism.
“The financial crisis facing the world including Ghana needs a lot of creativity and innovation, and so if we are able to generate the 2.3billion by the close of the year, we are shooting the cedis and creating jobs for the people,” he added.
Dr Awal thus urged the Board to give him a proposal within six weeks that would enable them to institute strategies and turn the museums and monuments in the country into profit centre.
“The unique selling position in Ghana interms of tourism is our forts and castles, please give me a proposal within six weeks, how do we turn this good resource into tourist attractions. We should not only showcase the cultural heritage of it but also make money to preserve it,” he added.
He also charged them to modernise and improve the forts and castles across the country with support from the Ministry, and other non-governmental organisations to help attract tourists and revenue for the country.
DrAwal, therefore, entreated the board not to work in isolation, but collaborate with other agencies under the Ministry to achieve the mandate.
The chairperson of the board, DrDankwa, expressed gratitude to the President for the honour reposed in them and pledged to contribute their quota to promote the tourism industry.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR