Govt to train, equip 30,000 SMEs in tourism sector

The Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture (MOTAC), Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has hinted that government will soon train about 30,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector to improve the macro-economic stability of the country.

In addition, the minister said, his outfit would allocate GH₵120 million as seed capital to equip and help these SMEs grow.

Dr Awal said these during the 3rd edition of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge held in Accra yesterday.

Under the theme; “Empowering African youth through tourism innovation, education, and investments in a changing world”, it focused on highlighting skills development and innovation methodologies for the youth and the need of an ecosystem approach among tourism stakeholders to enable entrepreneurs to grow and develop.

It was jointly organised by Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) in collaboration with the United World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the auspices of MOTAC.

Dr Awal said the training was to help build the capacity and strengthen the abilities of the youth to compete for and also create jobs.

However, the minister said this could be achieved if the youth demonstrate by their willingness to take the bull by the horn.

“If you are not obsessed and passionate you cannot achieve your goals, we want the young people here to be entrepreneurs, creative and innovative.  If you are not efficient, you cannot drive this continent,” he stated.

Dr Awal called for the need to creatively look at the sector, innovate and empower the youth and build their capacity to play an active and enthusiastic role in the African debate and make meaningful contributions to the continuing efforts at a stronger Africa.

“It is time to create the enabling environment to make lasting changes and meet the challenges of an ever-changing world,” he added.

The Chief Executive Officer of GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyemang said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic slowed down the sector’s progress globally and Ghana recorded almost 70 per cent decline in tourism arrivals and receipts.

However, he said, the industry was making progress to bounce back and it was their hope that the summit would be a key pillar in the process of engaging the youth on inovative strategies that could strengthen the resilience of the sector.

“If there is one thing that the unfortunate COVID-19 taught us, it is that “we must innovate to survive,” he added.

Mr Agyemang noted that the sector could progress if only a continuous, co-ordinated effort to empower the youth at all levels were made and the summit was an important opportunity for them to come together, share ideas, learn more, and discuss strategy.

“The future is youth, and it is imperative that we make the required efforts to tap into the innovative ideas they possess,” Mr Agyemang said.

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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