Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts has said that Ghana would fully harness the opportunities that come with being at the centre of the world.
She said there would be an iconic tower at the centre of the world on the Greenwich Meridian in Tema, to further reinforce the plan to reposition Ghana on the global tourism map.
“Our nation’s geographical location was determined following the world declaration of Greenwich as the Prime Meridian on October 13, 1884 in Washington DC.”
Mrs Afeku said this when she addressed participants of the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum and Awards 2018, on the theme: “Inspiring intra-Africa travel growth through innovative leadership”, on Friday in Accra.
She said tourism, culture and Creative Arts had become one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and highly competitive socio-economic and environmental activity in both developed and developing countries.
She said it was a labour intensive industry, as it created skilled and unskilled jobs in the supply and value chain as emphasised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, that one in every eleven direct jobs is created by the tourism industry.
Mrs Afeku said “it provides small-scale employment opportunities such as travel and tours, craft villages, music and dance, local Ghanaian cuisine among others.”
She noted that tourism receipts provided an important source of foreign exchange, contributing to the government’s tax revenues and enabling economic growth.
“As a result of public and private sector investment in infrastructure and superstructure facilities and services, inflow of tourist’s arrivals and tourism receipt have increased. The growth and development of the sector is hinged on the diversity of Ghana’s historical, cultural and eco-tourism assets which when fully developed would make the country a very competitive and preferred tourism destination in Africa.”
The Minister noted that, Ghana had also decided to position itself as a Meeting Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) and is taking steps towards achieving that.
Fully packaged calendar of events, informed by 2013-2027 tourism development master plan, promotional campaign in key source market, promotion of domestic tourism through ‘See, Eat, Wear and Feel Ghana’ campaigns, relaunch of the website visitghana.com among others, were some of the steps Ghana was taking to achieve MICE.
She said Ghana had a wide range of unique and exciting natural, cultural and historical attraction as well as a number of events with international and domestic appeal including PANAFEST and Emancipation day celebrations, paragliding festival, carnivals, choral festivals, national festival of arts and culture homogenous festival, and was embarking on a number of flagship projects to draw more tourists into the country.
“Our goals are set, the path seems clear and leadership shown by the President of Ghana shows that tourism in Ghana and Africa has come of age and it’s been mainstreamed as a main economic force and we all must play our part, re-energize that the continent can be sold as a preferred tourism destination to share our beautiful sight with the rest of the world.”