Earlier last week, another meeting of the Public-Private Partnership Forum (PPPF) on tourism was held in Takoradi on the theme ‘Fostering Stronger Partnerships (as a tool) for Sustainable Tourism Development’.
Stakeholders in the sector, while commending government’s commitment in instituting the PPPF as enshrined in law, have lately been deliberating on how to make the PPPF effective to achieve its goals. Engaging some members of the private sector ahead of the meeting, PaJohn Bentsifi Dadson found the one thing they all had in common; the desire to see the PPPF live out its mandate and not become a “talk shop”.
The successful staging of the last Public Private Partnership Forum meeting in Takoradi on Wednesday has heightened expectations for the tourism industry, with the agreement on firm actions to report on at the next meeting.
The formation and mandate of the PPPF, enshrined under Article 42 of the Tourism Act 871, has the objective of engaging the sector every quarter, with a communiqué expected to be issued on matters arising, the steps to be taken to address them, by whom and when.
It was launched in 2021 by the Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, who affirmed the government’s commitment to the industry. Instituting its manifestation, a Public Private Partnership Forum Office was set up by the Ghana Tourism Authority to oversee its implementation.
Technically sound as a concept, the PPPF brings together industry stakeholders to discuss ways in which the public and private sector can work together to foster growth within the tourism industry and encourage best practices.
The first quarter session of the forum, which came off in Kumasi in 2022 under the theme ‘Scaling Up Public-Private Partnership for Inclusive Tourism Growth’ attracted a large number of industry players, all of whom were bouyed to finally see a full proof mechanism in place for the sector largely acknowledged to be ‘public sector-led but private sector-driven’.
Industry players believe that the forum is an important platform where key areas pertinent to the sector that need to be fine-tuned – including issues such as accessing funding from financial institutions, standardising frameworks, creating business linkages among industry stakeholders, developing skills set that are relevant to the tourism and hospitality sectors and providing the right motivation for professionals, etc. – will be highlighted to be addressed by the forum.
There is no doubt that united under a focused and visionary leadership, a group will always achieve a lot. The PPPF, thus, established a small working committee to explore ways of making the wider body function more effectively and make the necessary impact.
Dr. Ackah Nyamike Jnr is President of the Ghana Hotels Association and a member of the Steering Committee of the PPPF. Like many of his colleague practitioners, his preoccupation lately had been on how “the PPPF concept can be implemented with dedication, commitment, zeal and integrity to ensure that it works”.
There had been concerns about the fact that the committee’s preliminary report submitted had not received a response for more than a quarter, begging the question as to who was to ensure that the forum follows its mandate as established by law.
Until this latest meeting, only three others had been held since its inception. And with no budgetary allocation communicated to the forum, it was feared that if this remains the trend after the Takoradi Forum, the PPPF may become “another ‘Talk Show’ and complete waste of our precious time and resources”.
Also, the sentiment of Committee Chair, Prof. Kwaku Boakye – a seasoned academic and consultant in tourism, was that “tangible evidence of actions taken in the aftermath of discussions of the report will be clear; otherwise, as is being feared, the PPPF will become another ‘Talk Show’”.
Commendation must, however, be given to the organisers who ensured the smooth running of events. It is only hoped that a clearer pathway to sustainable development for the sector will be carved as they forge ahead with the quarterly meetings.