The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture through its implementing agency, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has initiated innovative and progressive interventions geared toward sustainable tourism growth and development.
Some of the initiatives were also aimed at encouraging Ghanaians to share their experiences of tourist attractions they visited.
These initiatives were revealed during the 2021 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Tourism Day celebration in Wli, themed: “Tourism for inclusive growth.”
Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in-charge of Operations, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), said the celebration of World Tourism Day heralded the socio-economic, political, and cultural importance of the tourism sector to national and international economies through Gross Domestic Product, growth, jobs, and employment creation.
He said the theme was linked to a government programme of action that sought to create decent employment through inclusive economic growth, skilled and vibrant workforce to support an inclusive growth pathway especially the marginalised communities with tourism resources.
“As part of our collective efforts, the tourism private sector associations such as TOUGHA, TORGAG, CRAG, Ghana Hotels Association, etc. have resolved to provide discounts and rebates to groups and individuals who intend to travel to our attraction sites to encourage them to see the natural beauty of our country.”
Mr Ekow said incentive travels shall be encouraged in the private and public institutions and organisations to also boost domestic tourism.
“The domestic tourism campaign dubbed “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana ” is premised on developing and consuming our local attractions, local cuisine, dance, fashion, and music and showcase Made-in Ghana products both locally and internationally.
He said it would offer the opportunity to develop the local tourism as it would ultimately pull the international communities into the country.
“To whip up the interest of Ghanaians, the GTA launched the Travel, Snap and Win initiative that encouraged Ghanaians to share their experiences of the tourist attractions they visited.”
He said the GTA in recent times had stepped up efforts to draw tourists to attractions at the crucial moment of national life by launching another initiative dubbed, “Let’s Tour Ghana” to promote domestic tourism.
“Other initiatives included the Stay Home Know Ghana, Stay Home Discover Ghana, Ghana Gurus.
“In addition, the National, Single Window Destination project (VISIT GHANA APP) was also launched and implemented to digitise and automate the operations of GTA.
“Streamline the services and operations of the Ghanaian Tourism Industry and ensure service quality across the entire tourism value chain.
“By a click of a button on the App Store or Play Store, you can download the App and be ready to use.”
Mr Ekow said the “Beyond the Return” project under the theme: “A Decade of Renaissance, 2020-2030″ sought to build on the gains made by the successful 2019, Year of Return”.
He said the Ministry unveiled the seven pillars of the “Beyond the Return” project to consolidate the gains of the “Year of Return” and grow tourism in the country.
“lt is also aimed at showcasing Ghana’s investment potentials and solidity in its diaspora engagement programme to promote the African renaissance.”
“The pillars include Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathways to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back to Ghana as well as Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation.”
He said the passage of the Tourist Sites Regulations, L. I 2393 gave the opportune time for communities with potential tourism attractions to partner with the GTA to develop the attraction sites.
“This offers the GTA, traditional authorities, the communities, districts, and municipalities the opportunity to manage the sites together and ensure sustainable development.”
He noted that it will go a long way to help boost domestic tourism initiatives. They upgraded and commissioned tourist sites.
“Volta Region has abundant scenic, mountain, prestige beaches, waterfalls, historical buildings and unique vegetation that remain untapped for tourism development. Some of the unique attractions include Wli waterfall, Afadjato mountain, Snake Village, Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, and Cultural Village.”
He said the GTA had signed an MOU with some communities in the Volta Region to develop and upgrade the tourist sites and was committed to doing that.
“Most of these sites are community-based and therefore linked to the participatory approach and inclusiveness.”
Mr Ekow expressed appreciation and commended all the various practitioners in the Tourism, Arts, and Culture sector, who had in the disruptive times of the COVID-19 pandemic worked hard and remained committed to retaining Ghana on the competitive international tourism map as the preferred tourism destination in West Africa.