- facility to attract 150,000 annual visitors
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has opened the rehabilitated National Museum to the public after the facility was closed down in 2015 for renovation works.
The renovated edifice, according to the president, is expected to attract about 150,000 visitors each year and will contribute significantly to the country’s agenda of achieving domestic tourist arrivals of one million by 2024.
“The National Museum has not been renovated since 1957, 65 years after its construction, and we hope this facelift that has restored it to its full original state with an inclusion of additional exhibits and artefacts will attract significant visitors and enrich their experience for domestic revenue,” the president said.
He said the efforts put in to restore the museum are part of government’s comprehensive vision to help create a more vibrant cultural-industry sector – with an injection of an additional US$10million to renovate other key museums across the country, adding: “Tourism, arts and culture are effective tools for economic transformation”.
Indeed, Ghana has 65 percent of the world’s edifices linked to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, with the oldest European edifice in Africa – Elmina Castle built by the Portuguese in 1482 – being situated in Ghana.
This, the president said, presents an opportunity to monetise these resources and drive the needed investment to consolidate tourism as the third-largest foreign exchange earner after cocoa and mineral resources.
Government, the president said, has put in place digital applications such as the visitGhanaApp that has been developed to help operators of tourism enterprises promote and market their products, which has been effective so far. “There are plans underway to digitalise all museums and monuments to give them global appeal, in addition to building five ultra-modern amphitheatres across the country,” he announced.
In April, the president launched ‘Destination Ghana’ in London to stimulate international tourist arrivals from Europe as part of processes which heralded the lifting of international travel restrictions after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This initiative, the president said, must contribute to the bigger aspiration of bringing two million international arrivals to Ghana with a corresponding revenue of some US$4billion.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta said the ministry is currently collaborating with the Tourism Ministry to undertake key investments which will further deepen diaspora relations and investment in Ghana. The museum’s reopening, he said, is very vital for the contribution it will make to the stock of cultural and tourist attractions.
Undeniably, diaspora contributions to Ghana have been on the rise since observance of the ‘Year of Return’ in 2019 – with current investment contributions from the diaspora moving beyond some US$3billion.
Out of the 140 million people of African descent in the diaspora, about 43.6 million of them are African-American, constituting a buying power of some US$1.4trillion. These prospects, Mr. Ofori Atta said, are a great investment in waiting – and as such, Ghana must create a space to enable these diasporans to come back to the country.
Tourism Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, expressed optimism that the edifice will further deepen the country’s quest to attain its tourism targets. “The agenda for tourism development is an elaborate one and we are excited about the opportunities. Ghana definitely means business when it comes to tourism,” he said.