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Former Chairman of the Pan-African Festival (PANAFEST), Kojo Yankah has said the infiltration of politics in the management of Ghana’s tourism industry is a contributory factor to the dwindling fortunes of the industry.
According to Mr. Yankah, the unhealthy politicization of the industry is negatively affecting the tourism potential of the country since in some cases unqualified people are placed in influential positions because they helped a party come into office.
Speaking in an interview on Citi TV’s current affairs program, Face to Face, Mr. Yankah, who is also a former MP additionally said Ghana is losing a lot, in terms of revenue, due to this trend.
He called on government to begin to see tourism as a big business that could offer so much value to Ghanaians.
“We are losing so much...No, I am afraid we don’t have a program for tourism, it’s all adhoc. We had a tourism plan and program in the 70s and eary 90s. I don’t know if that program is still there but that defined the action plan and strategic directions we needed to take as a country to evolve but now to some point it is even more political, we are destroying what we have and what we can do with politics.”
“If you put somebody at the top who is only thinking about how to satisfy foot soldiers to put them in places and pay them, then we have a problem. You don’t put somebody in certain places because they suffered for the party. It is a business so put people who are qualified. It is a major business.”
Mr Kojo Yankah also disclosed that his tenure as the PANAFEST chairman saw the country benefit from significant achievements that did not only have economic value but also boosted the international image of the country.
He explained that during his tenure of Chairman of PANAFEST, he sought to use tourism to project the image of the Central Region which was among the least developed in the country.
“Central region is the fourth poorest region in Ghana apart from the 3 Northern Regions the next poorest region in Ghana is the central region. I saw tourism as the industry that could drive the whole region and make money for the region so as the we deliberately had plans to develop products that would do the trick, we already had the castle and forts, when we invited the director of health, education, water and sewage to be part of the Tourism development committee, they didn’t understand later they did...and that is how we developed it."
"PANAFEST in 1992 and by 1994 the demand was high, so we had people developing their hotels, Government even gave the hoteliers association money, we got all the hotels filled up. People had to go find accommodation in the Western Region.”
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