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Regional News Mon, 27 Sep 2004

Trouble-free elections will boost tourism - Jake

Kintampo (B/A) Sept 27, GNA - Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City emphasized at Kintampo at the weekend that peaceful elections this year would boost tourism in the country.

He explained that "a peaceful, trouble-free election" would once again demonstrate the unique mature nature of the Ghanaian and earn the country more admiration and respect, making it the hoped-for tourism and investment destination.

The Minister was speaking at a durbar of chiefs and people at the celebration of the Kurubi festival of the Wangaras. He expressed the hope that the message of peace, tranquility, civility and brotherliness would permeate the Ghanaian society "as we campaign for our respective political parties, bearing in mind the fact that the interests of the country are supreme to everybody and everything".

The festival coincided with the World Tourism Day celebration under the theme, "Sport and Tourism: Two driving forces for mutual understanding, culture and the development of societies".

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey noted that the marriage between sport, culture and tourism to enhance the festival had been most exciting "and I dare say, productive".

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said the country had a lot to offer, not only to its people, but to the world at large and the numerous treasures in the field of culture, heritage and history, as well as eco-tourism made it a big player in the league of tourism destinations.

"That is why the government has committed itself to a strategic action plan to attract about one billion tourists, who would generate for the economy, about 1.5 billion dollars, into the country", the Minister said. Noting that Kintampo has a big role to play, due to its beehive of tourism activities, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey gave assurance that his Ministry would work closely with all social partners to ensure the completion of a tourist receptive facility project in the town.

In a speech read for him, Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development advised the people to tolerate each other's faith to avoid unnecessary tensions and undue interference in the way others worship.

He explained that the government created the 28 new districts as a way of increasing the involvement and participation of the people in governance and urged the people to participate fully in the deliberations of the District Assemblies.

The Minister appealed to traditional leaders to support efforts by the government and international organizations to stamp out unproductive and outmoded cultural practices.

Alhaji Yusif Fanyinama, President of the Wangara Council of Chiefs, in a welcoming address, expressed the hope that the festival would invoke the spirit of peace and progress among the people and in the country as a whole.

Source: GNA