Tourism plays crucial and strategic roles, and has become indispensable in our socio-economic expansion, modernisation and overall national development aspirations and dreams.
Ho action & show centre on 6th March
Dr. Archibald Yaw Lestsa, the Volta Regional Minister (VRM), Ho – the Volta Regional Capital, and the Volta Regional Co-coordinating Council (VRCC) take its turn as host of the rotating National Independence Anniversary, and specifically, the 66th National Independence Anniversary on 6th March.
The Volta Regional Directorate of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Ho and the Regional Director, Mr. Alexander Nketiah, have kicked the 66th National Independence Anniversary celebration with Visit Volta Tour across all the 18 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) of the region as the lead act and countdown to the D-day on 6th March at Ho.
The tour train kicked off from Anloga, the district capital of the Anloga District through all Keta Municipal, Ketu South Municipal, Ketu North Municipal, Akatsi South Municipal and others to put spotlight on Volta and Ghana’s hidden tourism treasures as we celebrate our 66th Independent Anniversary.
Resources & attractions
The region has and is host to some outstanding and attractive tourism resources and attractions, including beautiful, clean and attractive beaches and beachfronts, colonial and slavery forts and castles, rivers, mangroves, wildlife, game, forest reserves, old slavery markets, lighthouses, culture, food and attractive cultural festivals, waterfalls and many others.
The region also has some of the choicest hospitality facilities; notable among them are Sky Plus, Chances, Volta Serene, Sekina Glory, Villa Cisneros, Holy Trinity Spa and Health Farms, Sogakope Beach Resort, White Dove, Magava and Freedom Hotels.
The rest are Wezor, Water Height, Abrarica, Afegame, Sancoway, Hotel De Mork, Hotel Stevens, Gold Finger, Volta Valley, Agblor Guest House, Hotel De White House, Keta Beach Resort, Gelud, Dzigbordi, Grand, Hotel Makavo, Hotel Vilcabamba,Viglin, Perfect Peace, Volta Valley, KCS, Aborigines, and others to provide for the accommodation and catering needs of visitors to the region and beyond.
Three decades of sustained tourism development; Matters arising
The erstwhile Ministry of Tourism rose to the task to justify its creation and the confidence reposed in it with cutting-edge national tourism development projects, policies and outstanding national special tourism events.
Ayidiya leadership legacy
Mr. Stephen Ayidiya – the first and founding Minister of Tourism, with able assistance from Mr. William Alormatu – then designated as director, which is equivalent to Chief Director – led their charges to justify the creation of the erstwhile MoT and the confidence reposed in it.
Pioneer & Legacy National Tourism Development Policies
Mr. Ayidiya provided the needed crucial leadership, stood over subsequent and succeeding tourism ministers of state as a national asset and blessing. He rose to the task, motivated and led his charges to plant seeds of national tourism development. He and his team initiated and implemented outstanding and highly commendable cutting-edge national tourism development projects and policies. Notable among the Ayidya era legacy and pioneer commendable national tourism development projects and policies include:
1996-2010 tourism development blueprint
The Ayidiya era and legacy gave us the landmark and historic 1996-2010 first 15-year Long-term comprehensive national tourism development blueprint which, if allocated the commensurate funding and implemented to the latter, would transform and reposition Ghana into an attractive tourism hub. The 1996-2010 national tourism development blueprint is very much relevant today to our socio-economic development aspirations as it was 27 years ago.
Expansion & rebranding
MoT later witnessed expansion, realignment, re-designation and rebranding known variously, among others, as Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of Capital City (MOT&MCC), Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations (MOTDR), Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Creative Arts (MOT&CCA), and presently designated as Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) since 2017.
Tourism is a unique and shared industry which involves public and private sector industry players. While the public sector creates the enabling environment with the needed laws, incentives, tax-holidays, rebates, among others, the private sector directs their funds and investments into the sector to make the industry thick and heavy.
To fulfil the crucial public-private partnership (PPP) element in the tourism-mix, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and its predecessors, in the 90s, facilitated and funded the creation of Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) as the national umbrella union of all tourism private sector practitioner trade associations, such as Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), Car Rentals Association of Ghana (CRAG), Ghana Hotels Association (GHA), Tour Guides Association of Ghana (TGAG), Indigenous Caterers Association of Ghana (ICAG), Board of Airlines (BOA), Drinking Bars Association of Ghana (DBAG), Night Clubs Association of Ghana (NCAG), and others.
Tourism Act & legal regime
Legislation and legal regimes are very crucial to the progress of competitive and sensitive industries, professions and vocations – such as tourism, aviation, and others.
Ghana has an emerging promising infant tourism industry. Tourism is a holistic industry which is founded on man-made, natural, cultural and heritage resources. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian tourism sector and industry currently does not have a holistic national tourism legislation and legal regime to propel the evergreen infant industry, but a number of fragmented and duplicative pieces of enactments on our statutes as suitable and applicable laws so far as the conduct and operation of tourism business is concerned in the Ghanaian jurisdiction.
Notable among these laws are the National Museums and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) Act 1969, NLCD 387, the National Commission on Culture Law 1990, Provisional National Defence Council Law (PNDCL) 238, the Chieftaincy Act (CA) 2008, Act 759, and the Culture Policy and Cultural Trust Fund Policy (CP&CTFP) Document 2004. The rest are the Tourism Act (TA) 2011, Act 817; the Film Development, Classification (FD&C); National Film Authority (NFA) and Film Development Fund (FDF) Act 2016, Act 925; the Creative Arts Agency (CAA), and Creative Arts Industry Development Fund (CAIDF) Act 2020, Act 1048.
Chieftaincy & traditional authorities
Also, the cultural sub-sector and its industry players and practitioners are the foremost tourism unique selling point (T-USP) across the world. However, the current Tourism Act has conspicuously neglected and relegated the cultural tourism sub-sector and its industry players, such as the chieftaincy institution and its lead practitioners – including chiefs and queen mothers, the national and the various Regional Houses of Chiefs as well as the National House Chiefs.
These are the custodians of our cultural heritage, but have no representation on the Ghana Tourism Authority’s 11-member Governing Board as created by section 4 of the Tourism Act in Ghana’s current tourism development scheme and strategy.
The Writer is a Tourism Historian, Brands & Branding, Communication & Marketing Consultant, Practitioner, Analyst, Advocate & Activist