The 2022 Youth in Tourism Festival (YOTOFEST) has been opened at the University of Education(UEW), Winneba, with relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector entreating the youth to prioritise sanitation in order for tourism to thrive in the country.
This year’s event, a partnership between the Tourism Society of Ghana(TSG) and the UEW, Winneba is under the theme “The youth, tourism and sanitation.”
YOTOFEST, organised annually is aimed at promoting youth engagements in the tourism sector and empowering younger generations to initiate more sustainable tourism promotions.
The six-day event slated from Tuesday July 19 to Sunday July 24, will involve activities including presentations, youth engagements, business incubations and investor pitch.
Others are interactive sessions, inauguration of tourism clubs, community engagements and a visit to the Big tree at Akyem-Oda in the Eastern Region on Friday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, Paramount Chief of the Effutu Traditional Area, NeenyiGhartey VII, while highlighting the importance of tourism to effectively create jobs and improve on employable skills contended that it produced the best results when conducted in a clean environment.
“I can allude to the example of the Aboakyire festival, which is a major tourist attraction in the Effutu area. We observed that when we improved the drainage system and cleaned the environment, participation and revenues doubled.
“In this regard, the Effutu Traditional Council decided we do not have to wait to clean and sustain our environment when the festival was approaching and therefore designed a policy on regular clean-ups and the provision of refuse bins at vantage points throughout the community,” he said.
He added that tourism influenced every sphere of the society and had the potential to preserve culture and was a critical tool to reduce poverty.
President of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA), Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr advised that Ghana’s development should be modeled around tourism.
In his view, both foreign and domestic tourism had tentacles spread in every aspect of our lives which should be leveraged as a vehicle for development.
“When a tourist decides to come to Ghana, all the processes that the tourist encounters is rewarding to the tourism industry. From accessing transport at the airport, visiting a restaurant, and lodging at a hotel to all the points of attraction that will be visited. The same applies to domestic tourism,” he stated.
To harness tourism’s rich potential to cure challenges confronting the youth such as unemployment, DrAckah-Nyamike Jnr, said security and sanitation culture around tourism be enhanced since “no one wants to visit an attraction site that was unkept and filled with dirt or choked gutters.”
On his part, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Effutu Municipal Assembly, ZubairuKassim, stressed the importance of prioritising and partnering the youth to advance tourism.
Mr Kassim said the commercial prospects of tourism meant that sanitation must be prioritised to attract investors and to increase its economic value.
He mentioned that the Aboakyire festival and the masquerading festival were two tourist attractions that exhibited the rich culture and history of the area as well as boosted the local economy when it was staged.
FROM BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY, WINNEBA