15-yr dev’t plan to drive tourism growth

The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Art, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, has revealed that her ministry is rolling-out a 15-year development plan to transform the sector into a major source of revenue.

“In the face of stiff competition from other countries, there is a need for us to raise our game by transforming the tourism sector in order to rake in the needed foreign exchange.

“In this regard, the ministry with technical support from the World Tourism Organisation has developed a comprehensive 15-year Tourism Development Plan that aims at clearly positioning tourism as a major pillar of Ghana’s economy. This calls for accelerated and concerted efforts from all sector industry players,” she said.

Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare made these comments at the 11th National Tourism Awards 2015 in Accra, which were under the theme ‘Rewarding excellence through healthy competition’. The awards seek to reward excellence and ethical business practices within the tourism sector.

This year’s event saw about 30 companies and individuals in the sector recognised for their various contributions toward growth of tourism in the country.

As part of this agenda, the ministry has already developed a Tourism Development Fund to provide support for the sector’s growth.

The country abounds with numerous tourism potentials, but poor service delivery coupled with lack of investment and infrastructure has over the years denied the looked-for revenue from this sector to the country.

The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to gross domestic product was 3percent of total in 2013 and in 2014 raised to an estimated 9.7 percent, representing a rise of 4.5 percent, as recorded by the Travel and Tourism, Economic Impact 2014 Ghana.

Also, in 2013 Travel & Tourism directly supported 124,500 jobs — 2.3% of total employment in that year; and went up by an appraised 7.4 percent the following year, an increase of 2.5percent of total employment in 2014.

The Acting Executive Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Charles Osei Bonsu, noted that tourism is a very delicate and competitive industry that requires consistent regulatory supervision around the clock, saying: “This is because at any point in time we are in competition with the over-200 countries and territories which constitute various tourism destinations in the world.

“We don’t have any choice but to compete, and the National Tourism Awards is one of the activities we use to ensure our diverse and discerning visitors obtain value for money,” he added.