Govt targets 1 million tourists this year – Deputy Minister

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture says it has set a target of one million tourist arrivals before the end of this year.

This target would be in line with attaining the broad policy objectives of diversifying and expanding the industry for economic development and developing a competitive creative arts industry as stated in its medium term national development policy framework 2022 to 2025.

Mr Mark Okraku-Mantey, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said this in Ho on Monday, at the 2nd Public Private Partnership forum organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the auspices of the sector ministry.

The forum which had the theme: “Leveraging African Continental Free Trade Area to increase Tourism and Investment to accelerate socio-economic transformation’ brought together about 300 participants.

He said tourism arrivals fell from 600,000 to 200,000 due to COVID-19.

Mr Mark Okraku-Mantey explained that even though tourism had become big business and capable of driving socio-economic growth and development, its benefits would not be fully recognised without an effective collaboration with the private sector.

According to him, stakeholders in the industry should begin to spread the news that the creative industry was one of the ways that can make the African Free Trade Area attractive.

He also stated that activities initiated by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture aimed at revitalising the sector. This, he said included a launch of domestic tourism campaign aimed at increasing domestic tourism visits to local sites.

The forum, he explained was therefore designed to accelerate the pace of tourism and a renewed focus for domestic and regional markets.

The Deputy Minister noted that the national tourism destination single window projects had been a method to increase operational efficiency to provide relevant information of the industry.

Mr Mark Okraku-Mantey, therefore, assured that the ministry would continue to support the private sector in order to improve the country’s tourist sites and also increase visitations.

“We need to market our country to the world, before they can visit our tourist sites, adding everybody has a role to play to make tourism a big team,” he stressed.

Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer of GTA noted that it was excess funds that some people use for tourism.

Therefore economic challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic really affect the sector, adding “we need to put our minds and leverage the strengths of each other to bounce back in a better way.”

Mr Allexander Nketia, Volta Regional Director of GTA, in his welcome address called for a lasting sustainable partnership between the public and private sector in the bid to promote tourism development and also create more opportunities for the sector.

FROM KAFUI GATI, HO

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