On September 27, 2020, World Tourism Day, would be celebrated globally under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
This year’s theme “Tourism and Rural Development” touches on rural communities, their role and potential for tourism development and also as a strong reminder and opportunity to expand the tourism reach by turning to the rural communities.
In a release signed by the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi and issued to the Ghana News Agency on Friday, in Accra, it said Ghana's tourism made great strides in the year 2019, by virtue of the Year of Return Campaign, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the industry.
It said its harsh effects on the tourism industry include a delay in the launch and roll-out of the "Beyond the Return" activities, a general downturn in the sector’s performance, massive and unanticipated loss of revenue and jobs.
Some of the major short and long-term measures put in place by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the robust recovery and growth of the tourism industry include a US$4 million grant facility for the development and diversification of tourism sites across the country especially rural communities, a US$5 million grant facility to support tourism and hospitality sector small and medium enterprises.
"A GHC 3 Billion facility with a moratorium on repayment and a reduced interest rate for the big players in specific industries including; the hospitality sector, a GHC600 million COVID-19 stimulus package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) generally, which is also available to Tourism SMEs."
Others are the allocation of GHC50 million to the creative arts and the media, re-energizing the Ghana Tourism Authority’s See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana campaign for promoting domestic tourism and highlighting Ghana’s unique selling proposition in the industry.
"The "Beyond the Return" initiative; a follow-up to the successful "Year of Return" campaign, which seeks to promote and consolidate relations between the African diaspora and Ghana."
The release said Ghana also obtained WTTC Safe Travel Certificate to assure international tourists seeking to travel to Ghana of their safety as the country opens up its Airport for international flights and established a National Heritage Committee in collaboration with UNESCO to develop strategies, policies and programmes on heritage conservation, preservation, presentation and promotion to foster intercultural dialogue and promotion of Tourism for sustainable development.
It pledged the ministry's continuous support for the promotion and development of tourism in Ghana, expresses appreciation and commended all various practitioners of the sector; who have in difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic remained committed to retaining Ghana on the competitive international tourism map as the preferred tourism destination in West Africa.