… To compliment Minister, balance & inclusive Leadership to drive National Tourism Agendum
GENDER parity and women empowerment is an all-important and strategic global policy, which seeks to promote and empower women, bring them at par with their male counterparts as well as offer and consciously promote equal rights and opportunities for both sexes, for balance societal development and progress in all endeavours.
As a results all institutions, industries, vocations, professions, companies, governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, faith-based and religious institutions and individual are consciously initiating, championing and promoting gender sensitive policies, products globally, towards the all-important international policy call.
Gender parity in tourism is further reinforced since tourism is pro-women and very sensitive global industry.
The tourism sector is more and extra exceptional since the hospitality / catering and or gastronomy tourism-subsectors as well as clothing and textiles, designing and fashion are the essential and unique aspects of the tourism mix which add colour and grandee to make tourism holistic and attractive.
Multiple studies and researches have also indicated that hospitality and gastronomy subsectors are pro-women and woman-sensitive, promote gender parity and women empowerment , where a higher and substantial chunk of manpower and active practitioners within in the gastronomy /hospitality sectors and workforce are women, therefore key and strategic administrative structures as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), which offers strategic political leadership, motivation and administrative direction and general leadership in realizing the overall national tourism development aspirations, need be gender inclusive and balanced.
Studies and researches conducted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization on “Tourism and Women Empowerment has concluded thus, “ tourism has the potential to contribute to greater equality and the empowerment of women, in line with the Third Millennium Development Goal, (MDG-3) now Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-3)” , where majority of tourism industry work force worldwide is made-up of women in both formal and informal jobs and sectors, offering them unique income generating opportunities.
World Tourism Day Themes
The United Nations World Tourism Organization Day (UNWTOD) better called World Tourism Day (WTD) is the most important date on the International Tourism Calendar , which is celebrated on September 27th internationally annually , to reiterate the importance of and contribution of tourism to socio-economic development with carefully selected theme and host country ,chosen by the UNWTO General Assembly, the highest organ of the UNWTO, it is not for nothing that 2007 world tourism day (WTD 2007) was themed , “ Tourism Opens Doors for Women, which was hosted by Sri Lanka ,WTD 2015 was 1billion Tourists, 1 billion Opportunities, whilst WTD 2003 and WTD 1992 were on , Tourism-a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony and Tourism-a factor of growing social and economic solidarity and of encounter between people respectively.
Our Homeland Ghana made history when the UNWTO General Assembly in Cartegena Mexico, in 2007, elected Ghana as the first Sub-Saharan African country to host the international World Tourism Day Durbar (IWTDD). WTDD, Ghana 2009, was themed suitably as “Tourism- Celebrating Diversity”, which reflected our stature and standing among the global comity of sovereign nations and our international tourism unique selling point.
Interactions and opinions among industry practitioners, investors, stakeholders, researchers and analysts among others have high expectations, opining strongly with satisfaction the in-depth understanding of the needs and knowledge of the industry and its needs and above all the pedigrees of the sector Minister, Dr. Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, who has quickly settled-down for work without delay and ceremony, since his appointment barely a month ago.
The stakeholders expect an equally experienced, goal-getter, outstanding and remarkable woman as deputy minister (DM) to Dr. Alhaji Awal , to compliment him and MOTAC, to reposition and champion the sector for uninterrupted and increase growth, to turn the country into an attractive international model tourism destination.
Tourism is an incontestable inclusive, gender sensitive, peerless pro-women and women-sensitive industry, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), therefore needs gender- sensitive and balanced political leadership to promote not only the overall national tourism ambitions but women empowerment and gender parity, which also re-enforces our national commitment towards the realization of the UN Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to above all strategically reposition the national tourism industry for uninterrupted and increase growth , development and evolution, which would above all promote the desired inclusive , sustainable, competitive and attractive diversified and services led new home-grown economy.
Eco-Tourism & Community-Ownership Strategy
.Ultimate Strategies to reposition Country as Attractive Model Destination Hub
TOURISM ranked highly as a remarkable very broad multi-sectoral, multi-million-dollar dynamic and robust international sensitive industry.
The industry which is founded on a society’s natural, man-made, cultural as well as heritage resources has become rare and strategic cash-cow, modern and competitive international industry.
Artificial intelligent (AI) and creative innovation (CI) are strategic unique man-made and added intangible tourism assets that make destinations and facilities remarkable and irresistible and un-avoidably attractive to an ever-growing and sophisticative money bag industry consumers and patrons to an equally robust, dynamic and competitive developing and evolving industry.
It has been the fastest, biggest and largest growing international industry since the turn of the millennium, which has transformed, repositioned and consolidated many challenged, emerged, emerging and developed economies.
It has consistently recorded increased and improved growth in both revenue receipts and visitor numbers, on year-on-year over the years and has become central and an integral part of many modern and competitive economies around the world today.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is a UN specialist agency that is at the forefront of scientific global responsible and sustainable tourism development and evolution.
Best industry practice
The UNWTO has over the years developed rules, guidelines, regulations, blueprints and conventions as best industry practices aimed to promote responsible and sustainable tourism development.
Among UNWTO’s Conventions is the evergreen One is to Ten (1:10) , which says for every one international touristic activity at a destination there must be ten (10) or more domestic corresponding tourism visitations at the attraction and or facility concerned, in otherwise a functional domestic tourism industry is the cornerstone of any vibrant , robust and sustainable tourism development and evolution. National narrative
Ghana has also seen and recorded improved tourism growth in both visitor numbers and receipts on year-on-year basis consistently over the years in tandem with the global industry trends, however, many industry experts and researchers opined strongly that the country’s growth records are far below its real capacity and estimated average potential and capacity.
Laws and their application occupy and play important roles in the development of industries and vocations. Ghana currently has no progressive national tourism legislation and legal regime. The few tourism related laws on our statues including the tourism act 2011, the 2004 National Cultural Policy Document, the National Commission on Culture law 1990, PNDCL 238 and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Act 1969, NLCD 387 among others are obsolete, outdated, fragmented and duplicative.
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
The sector in 1993 had its own autonomous ministry, Ministry of Tourism (MOT) as a statutory national technical ministry under the Office of the Civil Service (OCS), which was hitherto treated as footnote to others as trade and industry, information, education and others. The Ministry has seen various realignments and rebranding variously over the years, as well as elevation into cabinet status in 2012.
Ghana has great tourism potential which has been harnessed with very erratic strategy including non-compliance to and application of UNWTO best industry practice principles. It is urgent for the country to review, realign, amend and adopt a new National Tourism Development Strategy, (NTDS) which must embrace all UNWTO best industry practices, rules, regulations, guidelines and conventions.
Legislative & legal reforms
Legislative enactments and legal regimes are strategic, crucial, important and enabling environments to the growth and health of all vocations and industries, the country currently does not have an attractive national tourism legislation (NTL) and tourism legal instrument / regime (TLI), the Tourism Act 2011, Act 817 is better suited as the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Tourism Development Levy/ Fund (TDF) Act. There is need for an urgent holistic national tourism legislation, (NTL) administrative, legal reforms (ALR) as well as new national tourism legislation and legal regime, (NNTLI / R) to reposition and promote the industry’s rapid growth, development and evolution as international best practice area and model destination case study.
Institutional re-organization, restructuring and reformation
There are also institutional and mandatory duplication as well as overlaps in the current national tourism nomenclature, including and involving MOTAC and its frontline and key implementing agencies and other allied MDAs, this calls for institutional restructuring, overhauling and reforms.
There is high national ignorance on benefits of tourism development and also lack of vibrant and poor domestic tourism patronage and industry, which has been the bane of Ghana’s tourism development woes. Decentralized tourism development and a sustained multi-media national tourism information, communication and education strategy (I C&E), involving print, electronic (radio, TV), magazine national media campaigns, to educate the populace and create national awareness on benefits of tourism development, including engagements with traditional and religious leaders, schools and CSOs.
Decentralize policy regime
A detailed comprehensive well-defined and clear-cut decentralized national tourism policy , where all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are reoriented to prioritize tourism development and repositioned as strategic tourism frontline stakeholders and key agents as distinct and well branded sub-destinations and attractions to the bigger destination Ghana Brand, which is well promoted to identified and segmented markets, consumers and patrons.
There is need for MOTAC, to consider creating Decentralization and Destination Discovery Innovation and Activation Directorate, with a director (DDDIAD), to lead national tourism decentralization agendum, including identification and designation of tourism circuits, zones among others.
A decentralized national tourism policy and strategy (NTPS), with systems and strategies would promote inclusive and holistic national tourism potential development that would ultimately put the spotlight on many rare, unique, strategic but neglected, unsung and undocumented tourism resources.
A very pragmatic , innovative and robust comprehensive decentralized, digitized and automated national tourism development system strategy (NTDSS), would promote and result in a very vibrant , holistic, inclusive and an attractive national tourism industry of competitive and attractive sub-destinations, enclaves, zones, circuits, districts and regions, which would promote an all year-round industry, well controlled and regulated, whilst decentralization offers attractive alternative destination choice offers for consumers and patrons, since digitization would check and address challenges related to over-crowding and congestion at facilities and destinations, which also fits into the post-pandemic new normal of social and physical distancing , whilst automation on the other hand would inure and ensure authentic data collection and collation for statistics for analysis on visitor numbers and revenue receipts respectively, for policy making, monitoring, evaluation , review and check on revenue leakages at attractions and destinations.