Gov’t commits GH¢350m to tourist sites upgrade

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has said rehabilitation and modernisation work on the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park will be finalised and opened to the general public by end of the second quarter this year.

Government through the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (MoTAC) is investing up to GH¢350million to modernise tourist attractions and embark on product development to enhance the sector’s fortunes, Tourism Minister Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has said.

Dr. Awal was addressing the press at the Ministry of Information yesterday, and said the investment is in line with government’s commitment to making the sector more viable through support from the World Bank.

With the 2021 World Economic Forum Report on Tourism and Travel Development Index placing Ghana as the number-one tourism destination in West Africa, from its previous third position, Dr. Awal was optimistic that gains made by the sector since 2019 are yielding positive results.

“The presence of more than 65 percent of slave forts and castles in West Africa, as well as being the location of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s headquarters, offer Ghana an opportunity to become the leader in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) on the continent,” he noted.

Recent visitor numbers

Data from the ministry indicate that domestic tourist arrivals from January to September 2022 have reached 534,711 as compared to 334,921 for the same period in 2021, constituting an about-60 percent increase.

Also, international tourist arrivals from January to September 2022 is at 645,047 – representing 57 percent growth over last year’s numbers.

The ministry, according to Dr. Awal, is targetting to reach the one million-visitor milestone by December 2022, after completion of the month’s flagship event, ‘December in GH’.

Indeed, about 50 events have already been registered and approved for the upcoming ‘December in GH’.

Ongoing investments

Dr. Awal reiterated that ongoing rehabilitation of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra is very strategic to offer the edifice a befitting world-class look.

“Government is spending up to GH¢30million on rehabilitation of the mausoleum to give it the proper status to improve visitor-experience.

“The ministry has also trained and invested in the capacity development of 3,000 operators from various sub-sectors of the tourism industry this year, with the target to invest in some 20,000 personnel by 2024.

“These are all initiatives that contribute to job and wealth creation for the people. The tourism sector, according to the World Bank, creates two out of every ten jobs. This is clear evidence for us to revamp the sector and make it viable as the number-one employer in our country,” Dr. Awal said.

The sector’s other initiatives include construction of amphitheatres for music and entertainment purposes, and development of the exportable cultural and heritage products sector.

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