Executive Director, Wholesale and Investment Banking – GCB Bank, Sam Aidoo, has reiterated that promoting the tourism sector, particularly domestic tourism, demands a collective effort of all stakeholders with each playing respective roles so the industry can harness gains.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture this year aims at generating US$2.3billion from the various tourist sites, including forts and castles, and museums. It also expects to create about 150,000 jobs for local people, bring home one million international tourists and generate 800,000 domestic tourists.
Mr. Aidoo believes that to make gains, tackle the challenges of domestic tourism, and meet targets of the industry, both the public and private sector’s role is crucial.
He said this at the launch of ‘Chasing Waterfalls’ – a photobook and a guide to waterfalls in the country, put together by film-maker – Steve Ababio, and event organiser – Gina Arthur, upon visiting and discovering new waterfalls to attract tourists.
“We joined tonight’s events as the platinum sponsor, and it is worth it. To be able to drive the sector, we will need the collaboration of all stakeholders, and a bank like GCB is prepared to step up to support.
“It is important that banks and other financial institutions step up and support any endeavours that will showcase the beauty of any part of Ghana.
“Government has a lot of initiatives and plans, and very recently we find the President driving the agenda in London. There is room for the private sector to be able to support this growth. It cannot be done by one group alone; everyone must get involved to see Ghana where we want it to be. And GCB is there to support these initiatives,” he said.
He also urged the citizenry to take delight in domestic tourism and contribute to the development of the industry.
“It’s important that instead of spending our holidays away from Ghana, these are wonderful sites that we should take our families to see,” he said.
According to Steve Ababio, the project is about exploring the country to discover more tourist sites, with a focus on waterfalls, to showcase them to attract local and foreign tourists to those places in the quest to boost tourism, and grow rural economies.
“I believe that domestic tourism is more powerful than waiting for the foreigners to do things. If we get up and do this ourselves, we will be able to build our economy ourselves.
The project is about exploring the country to discover more and visit places where people don’t usually go. Not only about going there, but also capturing it and showcasing in such a way that others would want to go. We believe the more people go there, the more they will spend money on food, accommodation, souvenirs, pay tour guides; this will grow the rural economy, and that helps with livelihoods,” he said.
He noted that to further boost domestic tourism, the country must pay attention to addressing challenges such as bad road networks, training of tour guides, and investing in logistics.
Executive Director of the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC), Adjoba Kyiamah, said Ghanaians must take advantage of social media to promote its tourist site, as well as market the country.
Having partnered with the event, she said her outfit is poised to support the tourism agenda as a way of promoting bilateral trade.