Govt to disburse GH¢55m grant to GTD project beneficiaries –Dr Awal

The Government will from next week begin the disbursement of the GH¢55 million grant from the World Bank to businesses under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, the Minister of Tourism has said.

According to him, the grant would be disbursed through the Ghana Tourism Development Project to beneficiaries in three categories namely, the COVID-19 relief funds, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and tourism site upgrades.

Dr Awal announced this during an interaction with the media in Accra on Tuesday after the inauguration of the 11-member board of the Ghana Tourism Authority.

He said the grant was to help develop and improve businesses which had been financially affected due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and also to build capacity within the tourism industry.

Dr Awal said for the last two months there had been applications from businesses for the grants.

“There have been a lot of applications and the team have gone through the processes and sieved it. So beginning Thursday and Friday, we will start disbursing the money,” he said.

He again revealed that, the Ghana Tourism Authority had started training 10,000 operators within the tourism value chain under the Ghana CARES Programme.

Dr Awal said poor customer care and capacity building had been the bane of the tourism industry in the country, and there was therefore the need to train operators and build capacity of operators within the sector.

“Customer care and capacity building has been the bane of the tourism sector in this country. We need to let people know whether there are tour guard for the drivers among others and improve their capacity to deliver,” he said.

Dr Awal said currently Ghana was placed third in tourism in West Africa in terms of attraction, indicating that if proper measures were put in place, Ghana could become leading tourism destination in the sub-region.

“We are competing in the tourism space with other countries. In West Africa we are number three in terms of tourist attraction and we think that Ghana should be number one. So our plan in the next three to four years is to be number one in the tourism space in West Africa,” he added.

Dr Awal commended the media for its continuous support towards domestic tourism and urged them to help build a culture of travelling within the citizens to help boost economic growth.

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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