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Tourism Minister designate must focus on policy implementation, not formulation


  19 Février      16        Society (33453),

   

Accra, Feb. 16, GNA – Dr Kwesi Eyison, Immediate Past Ag. President, Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), has called on the tourism minister designate, Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer, to focus on policy implementation rather than formulation.

He said, “he must be looking at implementing already existing policies rather than coming up with new set of policies. Because time is not a good friend of his, so he can build on what his predecessor has built over the years and then go into consolidation, especially on domestic tourism.”

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Dr Eyison noted that there were various policy interventions that were introduced by his predecessor, like the renovation of tourist sites and attractions, drafting of the national tourism development policy and he could continue to work on to improve the sector.

He mentioned that skills development must also be an area of focus for the minister designate.

“Reskilling and upskilling of industry players is paramount. We need to be a bit more aggressive on the investment approach. It’s not just about erecting building, edifices, and facilities, but also about skilling and reskilling the man power base so we can deliver that kind of service excellence that would lead to the attraction and repeat business of all tourists both inbound and outbound.”

He said Mr Mercer must also build a strong collaboration with the private sector, by working to strengthen the Public Private Partnership Forum, implemented by Dr Awal, saying “the tourism industry is so much integrated and as such he must focus on all aspects to optimize the visitor experience. He must look at it from the holistic perspective through collaboration and partnership with the private sector.”

On his views about the reshuffling, Dr Eyison said the choice of Mr Mercer as the sector minister was a good step because coming from the Energy Ministry was abreast with issues of energy management in the country, especially now when the cost of energy in the industry was huge.

He said, “we have witnessed significant cost increase in our energy bills, so if he can bring to bear his energy management skills in driving down the cost of electricity by encouraging and incentivizing the private sector by bringing in new initiative that can drive down the cost of energy usage within the hotel and hospitality sector and generally across the value chain, it will be great.”

“It will make our destination a bit more competitive, because at the moment Ghana is perceived as a very expensive destination and one of the things that account for this is our energy cost.”

Dr Eyison said being an expert in energy transition, and coming to the tourism industry, which holds dearly the environmental aspect of sustainability at heart, Mr Mercer brings to bear great strength in that direction.

“It looks like there is good faith in that aspect of environmental sustainability. Especially when he has limited number of months to be in office before the elections. He can only consolidate on his term so that he can leave some good foot prints as far as he is concerned.”

He mentioned that on the issue of climate change, the tourism industry was one that contributed a lot of environmental pollution by the very nature of their activities from air transport to accommodation.

On the general performance of the outgoing Minister, Dr Eyison said the Minister had done a couple of things right and overall, he was very good.

He commended Dr Awal for the many accomplishments during his tenure, including the rehabilitation of various tourist sites, organization of the first presidential summit, tourism investment forum, series of public private sector engagements

and interactions, and breakfast meetings to discuss issues. He also swore in the Public Private Public Forum Steering Committee.

He was, however, quick to add that the issues of multiplicity of statutory and regulatory taxes and the addition of new taxes in the industry were major challenges he was unable to address, adding that as industry players they could only look forward to improvements in the things done.

Hafsa Obeng

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