GHC350m to upgrade tourist sites – Dr Awal

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Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal said around GH¢350 million was to be spent on upgrading tourist attractions across the country.

The government, he said, with the support of the World Bank, was financing the project, in line with its commitment to make the sector a real tool for economic transformation by 2023.

“This will contribute to the creation of jobs and wealth for the population. According to the World Bank, two out of 10 jobs are created by the tourism sector,” Dr Awal said.

The minister, speaking to the media in Accra yesterday, added that so far GH¢1.5 million of the funds had been spent on the rehabilitation of the National Museum.

Present at the press conference were Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey; Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP) Coordinator, Nana Sarfo Kantanka; the chief director of the ministry, John Yao Agbeko; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Culture Commission (NCC), Edna Nyame; National Theater Executive Director Amy Frimpong; Ghana Tourism Authority CEO Akwasi Agyeman and Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) CEO Kingsley Ofosu Ntiamoah.

Beneficiaries

Some of the sites that will benefit from the modernization project are Pikworo Heritage and Slave Camp, Bonwire Kente Museum, Yaa Asantewaa Museum in Ejisu, National Museum and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.

Others are Elmina Castle, Kakum, Shai Hills and Mole National Parks; the WEB Du Bois Center and the construction of five multipurpose domes or amphitheaters for performances within the creative arts space.

Importance

According to Dr. Awal, the country had a comparative advantage in the tourism and hospitality industry in West Africa, hence the need to invest and rejuvenate the sector.

“About 65% of all buildings used during the slave trade are located in the country and are used to stimulate heritage tourism.

“Ghana is also host to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, which positions the country as a venue for meetings, conferences and events,” he said.

The minister added that the country was not only at the center of the world, but was also politically stable and an attractive investment destination.

He further stated that his team is determined to be the number one contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is why “we are building capacity in customer service, domestic and international tourism development and product development”.

According to him, there were 534,711 domestic tourism visits from January to September 2022, compared to 334,921 visits during the same period in 2021, saying that “our projection is to reach one million domestic tourists by the end of 2022”.

Dr Awal also said that some policies would be reviewed to better serve the industry.

He added that the ministry was working to make the country a “pleasure hub” in December this year.

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