Business News of 2014-08-13

Greenwich Meridian to become tourism spot in Ghana

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) wants to turn the Greenwich Meridian, the imaginary line that divides the world into two parts, into a hot tourism spot.

The line, also known as Longitude Zero degree, stretches from England through France and Spain, all in Europe, to Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Ghana in Africa, before dissolving into the Gulf of Guinea.

In Ghana, the line passes through Tema in the Greater Accra Region, Salaga in the Northern Region and in other cities in the Upper East Region.

Although some countries, such as England, have turned the imaginary line into a hot tourist site by constructing some walls and signages where people visit, Ghana is yet to realise the tourism potential of the line despite the same natural glory with those countries.

The GTA, which regulates the tourism industry, however, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that it was now working to reverse that.

Its acting Deputy Executive Director in-charge of finance and administration, Mr Samson Donkor, said in an interview that last month the authority signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private firm under a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop the line into a major tourist attraction centre.

Consequently a working committee would be set up to liaise with the various stakeholders and the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in cities where the line passes through to come out with a range of activities, projects and ideas to ensure the success of the project, Mr Donkor said.

"Generally, we are looking at the stretch between Tema all the way to the north, where the imaginary line passes, so that activities can be done beginning from Tema to the north. The idea is to ensure that all the settlements along the imaginary line would also have a feel of the prime meridian," he explained.

On the nature of projects and activities the authority was looking at undertaking, Mr Donkor said, "we are looking at income generating activities so that settlements along that line would also have the opportunity to generate some income from the development of the Greenwich Meridian.

"For instance, we are looking at erecting signages to indicate the imaginary line. We are also looking at developing special places within the settlements where people can visit, and we are also looking at erecting a 'Wall of Fame,' where people can say that 'I have crossed the Greenwich Meridian' in, say Salaga, for instance, so that he can pay something small and have his name inscribed on the wall," Mr Donkor explained.

He said his outfit planned to organise the 'Greenwich Festival' which would be a climax of series of activities.

"We would expose these things with event attractions; maybe three days of events and then we will climax it with a festival or durbar of chiefs along that line so that the Minister of Tourism or any of the executives can address visitors," Mr Donkor said.

All hands on deck

He explained that the authority is to undertake massive public education on the whole concept and how the general public can collaborate to make it a success.

"We are also liaising with the district assemblies so that they would take those events as their own, we would just complement by providing technical advice and promotional aspects so that the private person will look at the income generation and economic aspect of the whole thing," he added.

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