The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and the Ghana Tourism Authority, say they have commenced negotiations with the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the Ministry of Finance to fix all deplorable roads leading to tourist sites in the country.
The move, according to them, forms part of a paradigm shift towards a tourism drive to ensure that one million Ghanaians move around tourist sites every year in the country to boost domestic tourism.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, who spoke to Citi News during a visit to some tourist sites in the Eastern Region with his Deputy, Mark Okraku Mantey, said urgent steps will be taken to fix all roads to tourist sites.
“Domestic tourism as we said many times is important to us as a country. Even the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that, we can’t rely solely on foreign arrivals because from 1.1 billion tourists in 2019 to less than 300,000 last year, you can imagine the amount of revenue lost, and the jobs that could have been created. So the emphasis now from the Ministry and GTA is to enhance domestic tourism. So the facilities here, we will urge them to put the right structures in place, work with GTA to ensure that, when people come here, their lives are well protected. If they do all that, what we intend to do is to work with the Minister of Roads and the Minister of Finance to fix the roads”.
“The roads to the Boti falls isn’t good at all, and tourists want to come if the roads are well fixed, so the issue is that, let us try and put all the necessary things that we need to put together. It’s not only people coming. I repeat; tourism is very important when they come, and they enjoy the place, they want to come again. We want to ensure that, at least one million Ghanaians, every year, move around the country, they see places, they admire places and create some national unity and this will bring income”.
He added that “If the roads are fixed, the next thing will be marketing, and that’s why we are on this campaign of experience Ghana, share Ghana. We are going to market all the tourist sites and attractions. A lot of people don’t know that in Ghana we have such facilities, and like we have been told by the operator, more facilities are coming, so we will do our bit by marketing the sites and marketing other tourist attractions in the Eastern Region.
Make tourist sites attractive, welcoming and safe
The CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyemang, also called on various operators within the tourism sector to make the sites attractive, welcoming, and safe for revelers.
“Together with the Minister of Roads and the Minister of Finance, we are going to ensure that the roads to this place are fixed, but before we get to that, housekeeping issues also have to be resolved. The issue of the governance, the issue of safety at the site, the issue of some environmental issues have to be dealt with, and so we work hand in hand under the direction of our Ministry to make sure that all these things are done”.
A new paradigm in tourism
Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Awal assured that his Ministry will change the face of tourism in the country.
“Let me assure you that, we are not going to take tourism like before. There’s a new paradigm in tourism; it’s not just business as usual, but tourism is money, tourism is jobs, and we have to do well to make sure that the road is done, we will do it. But like my colleague said, let’s make sure that the housekeeping is done. If tourists come and things are not straight, and they are not sure of their safety, they won’t come back. So we’re working on the roads, we are working on everything”.