Regional News Fri, 3 Mar 2006

Highway rest stops asked to keep high standards

Bunso (E/R), March 3, GNA - A 3.5-billion-cedi Linda Dor Highway Rest Stop at Bunso in the East Akim District was inaugurated on Friday, with a call on the managements of such facilities to set and keep very high standards in the hospitality services along the country's highways. The Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, Mr Jake Obitsebi-Lamptey made the call in a speech read on his behalf by his Special Assistant, Mr Ferdinand Ayim, at the inaugural ceremony. He commended the proprietor of Linda Dor Enterprise Limited for the facility, noting that, it fell within the policy of the Ministry to promote and offer technical assistance for receptive and sanitary facilities along priority tourism routes throughout the country. Such routes include the Accra-Kumasi, Kumasi-Kintampo-Tamale-Bolga-Paga, Kumasi-Sunyani-Dormaa Ahenkro-Gonokrom, Accra-Takoradi-Elubo and Accra-Sogakope highways. Mr Obitsebi-Lamptey said through the Ministry's technical assistance, receptive and sanitary facilities including pay washrooms had been developed at Medie, Bunso, Anyinam and Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region and Winneba and Elmina in the Central Region, adding that, similar ones had been planned for other rest stops on other major highways.

He said to ensure that the projected attraction of one million tourists into the country by the end of next year to raise 1.5 billion dollars revenue was realized, his Ministry was committed to facilitating the establishment of decent rest stops that would offer first class services to the travelling public and thus, make travelling less tedious and convenient.

Mr Obitsebi-Lamptey listed a number of international events that the country would be hosting within the next two years as the Emancipation Day celebrations in July and August, this year, Ghana's 50th Independence anniversary celebration in 2007, the 2nd Hang and Paragliding Festival in Easter this year and the African Union meeting next year.

Others include the joint Panafest and Emancipation Day next year, UNCTAD meeting in 2008 and the African Nations Cup of Nations (CAN 2008).

To develop a strong, competent and serviceable human resource base for the tourism industry, he said the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) would soon embark on an exercise to ensure the observance of regulations requiring a certain minimum level of professional competence for front office and other personnel of tourism plants in the country.

The Minister said to address the deficient human resource base problem, a strategy to provide crash training for frontline staff had been carried out in some regions, saying, other regions would also benefit from the programme.

He urged the operators in the tourism industry not to compromise the concept of 'value for money' in ensuring that standards were kept in order to make the country a preferred tourism destination in Africa. On the March 29 eclipse of the sun, Mr Obitsebi-Lamptey cautioned watchers to use the prescribed solar shade, since watching the event with naked eyes could lead to irreversible injury to the eyes.

The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin in a message delivered on his behalf by the Tafohene, Osabarima Adusei Peasah, welcomed the foresight of the company for the investment, saying, it was close to the Bunso Cocoa College, which is soon to be converted into a university and would therefore require its services.

The Managing Director of the company, Madam Doris Belinda Arkorfful, paid tribute to the Asiakwahene, Osabairma Agyemang for his assistance towards the acquisition of the land to relocate the Rest Stop from the SOS Village, following the diversion of the Accra-Kumasi highway.

She appealed for financial and technical support from various Ministries involved in private sector development and co-operation from transport operators to enable the facility deliver high standard service.

The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Ms Sussana Mensah, who chaired the ceremony, assured the company of the necessary support of the Regional Co-ordinating Council towards enhancing its operations and appealed for similar co-operation from the chiefs and people in the area.

Source: GNA