Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, visited a few tourist sites in Accra on Monday to equip himself with the infrastructural gaps in the system and find better ways to address them.
Monday’s tour of the Greater Accra region totals 10, the number of regions the minister visited to get first-hand information about the sites and work to make them attractive to local and international tourists.
Dr Awal said there were plans to go to all 16 regions of Ghana to see tourist attractions so that what needed to be developed would be turned into acceptable standards and new ones created if necessary.
“The government’s objectives are to develop at least two emblematic sites in each of the 16 regions. Ghana is now number three in West Africa ahead of Senegal and The Gambia and we don’t think that’s enough. We believe that Ghana is so big, endowed and involved in tourism that by the end of 2024 we want Ghana to be the most attractive tourist country in West Africa.
He said, “This is why we are visiting these sites to see where to partner with traditional authorities and communities to uplift the sites. We are the most peaceful nation in West Africa with very diverse cultures and so many forts and castles and these are unique selling points Ghana can develop.
Some of the tourist sites visited include the National Museum, James Town Lighthouse and Incoming Facility, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, and Labadi Pleasure Beach.
The sector minister has pledged to provide an amount of GHC 800,000 next month for the completion of the renovation works of the National Museum gallery by the end of September.
He said that “by doing so, the works would be completed on time and the gallery would be open to the public by the end of the year in order to create more jobs and income for the country.”
At La Pleasure Beach, Mr. Akwasi Agyemang, Director General of the Ghana Tourism Authority, said the ministry has found funds, under the Ghana Cares program, to develop model beaches and that the point starting point was La Pleasure Beach.
He said that in order for the ministry and its implementing agencies to undertake this plan, the new legislative instrument which included certain guidelines would have to be followed. A master plan on the ground to be financed must be drawn up as soon as possible.
“It’s about making sure that the employment issue, the rental contracts, everything has to be done properly including environmental and safety issues. The funding is ready and the Ministry is ready and serious to develop the place.
Mr. Agyemang noted that the sector minister was advocating for the reopening of the beaches, but for that to happen, they must ensure that the protocols are followed.
“There are new guidelines that we are bringing, so we will come and sit down with you to discuss the new protocols as that would be the model beach that others would emulate. “
He assured facility managers that the ministry would engage traditional leaders, assembly and community to ensure that operators at the site are not removed but upgrade their facilities to required standards, adding, however, that ‘they would find a way to work with them to move them on trails or walkways.
At the James Fort and the Kwame Nkrumah Museum, the minister assured that the ministry will modernize them to meet international standards in order to attract more local and international tourists.
He urged administrators to support the president’s and ministry’s agenda to put tourism at the forefront of the economy.