Peduase, May 30, GNA- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has tasked the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to ramp up promotional activities to achieve the target of two million international arrivals by 2025.
That, he noted, would result in corresponding earnings of some $4 billion to the national economy, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be created in the tourism value chain.
Speaking at the opening of the Presidential Summit on Tourism at the Peduase Lodge in the Eastern Region on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo said that the government had placed tourism at the forefront of national development.
He said the tourism sector is a major driver of economic growth, enterprise development and job creation, thus players must pull efforts and resources to develop “sustainable tourism to ensure that benefits reach every corner of the country.”
The two-day summit is on the theme, « Rethinking Tourism for Economic Growth and Job Creation. » It is being organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority.
Some 400 participants are taking part in the event. The summit aims to encourage critical thinking about tourism’s future and its impact on national development.
The gathering also seeks to create a platform to explore novel approaches to tourism and prioritise sustainability, and community involvement, and facilitate dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders in the industry.
With the tourism sector demanding partnerships in all approaches, the President called on all stakeholders to unite efforts, share knowledge and pull resources to create a comprehensive framework that facilitates dialogue.
He suggested that players in the industry must adopt a four-fold approach- Preservation, Promotion, Policy Leadership and Partnership- to make the tourism sector a driving force for national development.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that the government and all stakeholders in the tourism sector “must preserve what we have as a country…We are the guardians of Ghana’s natural wonders, and it is our responsibility to safeguard them for future generations.”
“We must amplify Ghana’s unique tourism appeal on the global stage through strategic marketing campaigns, enhanced digital presence, and targeted investments in infrastructure,” he said, adding, “Through this effort, we can showcase the diverse attractions the nation has to offer.”
The President urged the private sector to show policy leadership in creating the right climate and platform for investments to grow in the tourism sector.
He stressed the need for a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders to unlock the economic potential of the tourism industry.
“Let us unite our efforts, share knowledge, and pull resources. Let us create a comprehensive framework that facilitates dialogue, cooperation, and innovation.
“Together, we can develop sustainable tourism models, empower domestic entrepreneurs, and ensure that the benefits of tourism reach every corner of our beloved country.
“We are building a thriving tourism economy with many tourism sites currently undergoing improvements. We are determined to build a tourism economy where hospitality, arts and culture are used as tools to spur economic development,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture noted that the tourism industry has started showing signs of recovery and growth after the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic exacted on the sector.
He called on sector players to support the efforts the government was making to position Ghana as the tourism destination on the African continent.
“The first quarter of this year (2023) tourism numbers grew 47 per cent from 170,000 last year at this time to 247,000 arrivals. If each tourist spends $3,000.00 dollars, you can imagine how much that is.
“Our destination Ghana project is on course, and I want to assure all stakeholders that we are not resting. We want you to give us your support, partner us and we will make Ghana the choice for tourists,” he said.
Dr Awal disclosed that Ghana had overtaken the Gambia and Senegal as the most desired tourism destination in West Africa.
“Ghana is now the most attractive tourism destination in West Africa. Just two years ago, it was Gambia and Senegal, today we are number one. It was projected that this achievement will be done in 2026, however, under President Akufo-Addo’s leadership, today, Ghana is the most sought-after place for tourists. We will continue to do our best,” he said.
Data shows that tourism is gaining ground again following the lull caused by COVID-19.
International arrivals saw an 81 per cent growth in 2022, whilst domestic tourism also grew from 600,000 in 2021 to almost a million in 2022.