Mr Boniface Gambila, Acting CEO of Northern Development Authority

The Northern Development Authority (NDA) in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has held a two-day validation conference with stakeholders in the tourism, arts and culture sector to discuss the draft document of the Northern Ghana Tourism Development Strategy.

The Ghana Tourism Authority, National Commission on Culture, Creative Arts Agency, Ghana Cultural Forum, University for Development Studies (UDS), Centre for National Culture, Ghana Tourism Federation, Northern Development Forum, Miss Tourism Ghana and National Film Authority were among the organizations that participated in the workshop in Tamale.

The main objective of the strategy is to leverage on the rich tourism and cultural resources in the North to competitively position the area as the preferred tourist destination in Ghana and the West African sub-region.

According to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority (NDA), Mr. Boniface Gambila, the document outlines specific actions and targets aimed at developing a vibrant tourism industry in the northern ecological zone to create jobs, poverty reduction and also increase per capita income in the northern sector.

In view of this, he noted that the development of tourism, culture and creative arts sectors in the North is at the core of the authority’s mandate as a vehicle to accelerate the overall socio-economic development of the zone.

Some of the participants at the workshop

He however bemoaned that the potential contribution of the sector to national development and transformation has been underestimated in the county.

Mr. Gambila posited that the plethora of natural tourist attractions in the north can fetch Ghana the much desired foreign exchange earnings when it is well packaged and marketed.

Accordingly, he announced the intention of the authority to apply part of its funds for the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) to support the development of tourism, arts and cultural infrastructure in the northern Ghana.

He added this will complement the government’s aggressive campaign and intervention such as the patronization of made in Ghana goods, back to Africa Heritage drive and rehabilitation of major trunk roads to the five regions in the north.

Mr. Gambila stated that the NDA is ready to collaborate with other state and non-state partners and agencies for an open constructive dialogue and engagement to push forward a comprehensive agenda to develop the tourism sector for the north.

Meanwhile, the sector Minister, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal in a statement on his behalf said the accomplishment of the strategy is not farfetched, stating that it provides the basis for concrete implementation plans and various assessment procedures towards the realization of the Northern Ghana Tourism Development goals.

He maintained that the goals are achievable because northern Ghana abounds in diverse rich tourism attractions, which need to be harnessed and packaged for enhanced marketing and promotion within and without Ghana.

“Capitalizing on and leveraging the existing abundant tourism fundamentals coupled with the President’s recent launch of the domestic and regional tourism campaign, your effort today give the sector a solid tourism strategy to govern and revolutionise sustainable tourism practice in the northern part of Ghana feeds into the overall gamut of my ambition to make Tourism, Arts and Culture the number one contributor to Gross Domestic Product while creating more than one million new jobs and employment.

“It also dovetails into my avowed agenda to generate more than $5 billion by the close of 2022 through tourism, arts and culture” Dr Awal stated.

In this regard, he assured that the government will develop two iconic tourism attractions in each of the five regions of the North to commence the development process and stimulate growth to address the human and social development quagmires.