Members of Parliament have been urged to champion the drive for local tourism in Ghana in an attempt to revive the tourism sector and improve revenue mobilization for the country. The appeal was made by the Minister designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Awal when he appeared before the Appointments Committee for his vetting on Thursday, 25 February, 2021.
He promised to aggressively undertake prudent initiatives to reinvigorate the spirit and interest of Ghanaians to patronize local tourism to complement that of international tourists who visit the country.
He said Ghana has the best in terms of tourist sites and the Ghanaian people are very warmth and we have a very rich arts and culture.
“…Mr. Chairman, in the year 2019 when we had the Year of Return, 1.1 million tourists visited this country and that brought us some three billion US Dollars. This systematically, has been increasing in the last eight to ten years; we don’t do much on internal tourism and I want to use this opportunity to urge Parliament, representatives of the people to champion this internal tourism drive”
“Anytime you go on break, if I am given the opportunity, I want to organize Members of Parliament to go around the country. We want have corporate tourism, school tourism, religious tourism and others. Apart from making people know various parts of the country, it blends national unity and create opportunities for people in the local communities” Dr Awal added.
The Bank of Ghana list the Tourism Sector as the fourth-highest foreign exchange earner behind gold, cocoa and some remittance.
Some stakeholders in the industry have intimated for Ghana to have a sustained development in the sector, the government must address some infrastructure bottlenecks and improve on the road network connecting some landmark tourist areas for easy access visitors.
Ghana as one of the destinations for tourist in the sub-region has suffered some serious negative economic impact and job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic during the lockdown and closure of borders.
The sector is estimated to have lost an amount $171 million dollars during the partial lockdown and closure of tourism and hospitality centers in the country.