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Business News Wed, 23 Jun 2004

Ministry of Tourism to train personnel in the industry

Accra, June 23, GNA - The Ministry of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City has set up a Training Committee to pursue the harmonization of the training and certification programmes to upgrade personnel in the industry.

This will upgrade the standard and quality of human resources in the tourism and hospitality industry and also provide quality training on a sustainable basis to meet the current and future needs.

Mr Charles Osei Bonsu, Acting Deputy Executive Director of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) announced this at a day's seminar for members of the Hotel and Catering International Management Association (HCIMA) in Accra on Tuesday.

He said the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) was to be restructured to become a sub-regional training Institute for the tourism sector, while EREDEC Hotel in Koforidua was also to be transformed into a training Hotel.

Mr Bonsu said the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) had also introduced a Bachelor of Science programme in Hospitality Management and currently and was constructing a 100-bedroom teaching hotel.

"These are modest efforts being put in place to address the human resource needs of the industry", he added.

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Ghana, Mr Bonsu noted was now expanding her tourism industry, with Eco-tourism to offer diversity and break the monopoly and conserve the environment, its resources and sustain the well being of the local people to eradicate poverty.

"Fourteen Eco-tourism sites have been selected for development, marketing and promotion and I am happy to announce that the first phase of the project has been accomplished", he said.

Some of the eco-tourism sites include Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary in the Upper West Region, The Bunso Aboretum in the Eastern Region and the Xavi Bird Watching Sanctuary in the Volta Region, he said.

Mr Bonsu said in view of the enormous potentials and the promising nature of tourism, the Sector Ministry had prepared a five-year strategic Action Plan in collaboration with the public and the private sector.

The vision and purpose of the plan, he said was to generate a growth rate of 20 per cent by 2007 to make Ghana a preferred destination in Africa and also to make tourism the largest employer after agriculture.

Mr Foster Joe Nyarko, President of The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) called on members to work collectively and modify the existing institutional framework, which was fragmented and outdated.

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GHATOF, he said was to make the tourism sector number one in the country, market Ghana abroad, make the required changes to create a harmonious platform for the smooth operations in the hospitality industry and also make the vision of Golden Age of Business a reality. Mr Chandi Jayawadena, President of Hotel and Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), who presented a paper on Personality Analysis- a tool for Hospitality Mangers - noted that it was important to handle all clients with care and decorum.

He said some personalities were soft; others tough, some were perfectionists and others very clumsy and complex but attendants at the hotels should try and accommodate them all.

Mr Jayawadena called on Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City to discuss issues on culture promotion and development of the human resource for the industry.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said the Ministry would soon come out with a policy that would compel restaurants to serve at least two Ghanaian dishes.

He said currently the hotel industry had only about 20 per cent professionals and expressed the hope that within the next four years the number would increase to about 80 per cent.

Source: GNA