Government targets first position on West African Digit Competitive Index

John Kumahe3r4t567 Dr. John Kumah, Deputy Finance Minister

Wed, 31 May 2023 Source: ghanaguardian.com

Deputy Minister for Finance, Dr John Kumah says the Akufo-Addo-led government is determined to retain Ghana’s ranking as the 1st country on the West African Digital Competitiveness Index to support service delivery and improve regional competitiveness.

According to the Member of Parliament for Ejisu, this is seen as part of the efforts to digitize key services and support the fintech sector to promote financial transactions and reduce risk for travellers.

Dr. Kumah said this when speaking at the ongoing 2023 Presidential Summit on Tourism, on the theme: "Using Tourism To Jumpstart The Economy" in Accra.

He explained that "The tourism sector is a powerful job creator, providing livelihoods and pathways out of poverty for millions across gender, ages and skill levels".

Dr Kumah said tourism is a critical part of the Government’s effort, hence the need to tackle the country's development challenges – especially economic vulnerability and inequality.

He said In 2022, tourists spent about 660 billion dollars in emerging and developing countries – about 3 times the amount of Official Development Assistance (which is US$204 billion) that year, adding that an estimated 235 million tourists have travelled internationally in the first three months of 2023, more than double the same period of 2022.

The Deputy Minister for Finance, speaking further on Tourism and the Economy in Ghana, before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism was an increasingly important sector in our economy.

He said Foreign visitors to Ghana reached 1.13 million in 2019, rising from about 668,000 in 2009, adding that yhe industry employed about 650,000 Ghanaians and contributed US$3.7 billion to the economy.

"Total revenue received from tourists increased from US$ 2.6 billion in 2018 to US$3.3 billion in 2019. In terms of the cascading impact of the sector on the wider economy, average tourist expenditure is almost doubled from US$1,805 in 2016 to US$2,931 in 2019" he said.

He added that "the closure of businesses and borders pushed hotel occupancy rates in the country from above 70% to below 30% nationally. Some 275,000 jobs were estimated to have been lost in the sector due to COVID-19".

Speaking on the theme, he said "We need to quickly jumpstart and overhaul the engine of the economy to deliver respite to our people and continue the journey towards eventual economic transformation".

Dr Kumah added that the government is investing in destination management, infrastructure development, and marketing capabilities to enable the country to rebuild the industry's foundations, attract a discerning global audience, and propel economic growth.

The Deputy Minister added that "We are also entrenching the future of the economy and the tourism sector by supporting significant physical and digital infrastructure development".

"The improvements in road condition and the construction of several interchanges across the country are expected to ease travel and open-up tourist destinations. The opening-up of the Kumasi, Ho, Tamale and Sunyani Airports will advance both domestic and international travel and touring and promote eco-tourism in our country" he said.

"We are investing significantly in safety and security, which will also increase our competitiveness in attracting tourists. The increased visibility of the Ghana Police Service, heightened personnel presence at the border regions and the installation of Closed Circuit Televisions in public places nationwide are examples of the interventions that the tourism sector stands to tremendously benefit from".

"We have a unique opportunity to rebuild, re-imagine, and transform the tourism sector. By strategically capitalizing on our unique tourist attractions, supporting communities and industries, and embracing sustainable practices, we can pave the way for an inclusive, resilient, and thriving tourism industry that drives economic growth, safeguards our natural heritage, and uplifts our people" Dr John Kumah underscored.

However, he urged Ghanaians to forge ahead with determination, united in the commitment to realizing the true potential of tourism in Ghana.

Source: ghanaguardian.com
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