Accra, Sept. 18, GNA - Ghana would on behalf of Africa partner United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to celebrate this year's World Tourism Day, a release from the Ministry of Tourism said on Wednesday.
The day had previously been celebrated in Europe, South East Asia and the Americas and Ghana was selected because of her long standing relations with the UNWTO, as well as the active role she plays in the activities of the world body.
Ghana's track record and pioneering role in the international arena and the Africa Union also contributed to her selection, the release signed by Ms Doris Yamoah, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, said.
The celebrations, which starts from 21st-27th September 2009 is under the theme: "Tourism Celebrating Diversity" and it would focus on the world's cultural wealth and the important role sustainable tourism plays in revitalizing local traditions and making them to flourish as they cross other cultures.
It would highlight the importance of Tourism and globalization; the job opportunities that Tourism creates in many industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, retail trade and the important components of tourism businesses such as guide services; shopping; transport; entertainment; accommodation and photography.
The National Planning Committee has come out with a comprehensive implementation programme aimed at spreading the celebration of the event nationwide.
Activities lined-up include a high level global forum to discuss how tourism diversifies; a communication workshop; an interface with the international/local travel writers; nongovernmental organisations and tourism practitioners to discuss how to develop a new image for Ghana's tourism.
Others are a tourism conference designed to discuss with key stakeholders and other related sectors pertinent issues on tourism and related concerns; press trip for international and local travel writers; tour of selected attractions to promote them both locally and internationally to increase visitation and a forum on Sustainable Tourism to Eliminate Poverty.
The rest are promotion of agro-tourism using cocoa; a Ghana Gala Night to expose Ghanaian music, dance, fashion and cuisine; regional celebrations to sensitize communities to also join in the celebration at the local/regional levels and a press conference at the UNWTO Secretary General would give a message to the world.
The benefits that would inure to Ghana include boosting the country's international image and giving it worldwide publicity; attracting investment especially in the provision of tourism superstructure and services; increasing tourist arrivals and consequently improving Ghana's balance of payment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP); creating wealth through job creation and generation of income especially in the rural communities where tourist attractions are located.
The celebrations would also strengthen the country's resolve and determination to become the Gateway to Africa since it would be the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to host this international event.