The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is to invest over $20 million to improve tourism and arts attractions to increase tourism arrivals to about two million by 2024.
To this end, the sector Minister, Dr Mohammed Awal, said the Ejisu Museum, Yaa Asantewaa’s tomb, Lake Bosomtwe and some six handicraft centres in the Ashanti Region would be improved so that 250,000 jobs could be generated annually and also contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the Minister, the investment in each of the above mentioned areas would be generating about five million US Dollars a year.
Dr Awal said this when he paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
He said the pandemic has affected the number of tourists coming in, therefore, the ministry was seeking the Asantehene’s support to shift focus on domestic tourism where Ghanaians would be encouraged to travel across the country.
The Minister said “our aim is to ensure that the sector contributed significantly to the gross domestic product growth and to also increase tourism arrivals in the country to about two million in 2024.
On his part, the Asantehene noted that the tourism industry could generate income more than the cocoa sector if managed well. Therefore, the high cost of hotels should be resolved to attract visitors in the country.
He mentioned that a lot ought to be done to develop the tourism value chain to an appreciable standard for the country to make the most out of the industry.
The Asantehene said it was important for the sector to pay special attention to uplifting tourist sites, and also building the capacity of stakeholders.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said that the tourism sector was the fastest growing in the world and Ghana could derive multiple benefits if managed properly.
He encouraged art and tourism lessons for commercial drivers who he said “make first contact with visitors for further advancement in the sector”.
The Minister was accompanied by Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of operations of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Nana Matthew Osei Prempeh, senior quality assurance officer, GTA, Ms Mavis Gyasi-Afriyie, Ashanti Regional Manager, GTA, among others.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI