Tourism is a top priority for Ghana, says Bawumia Featured

By By Nana Yaw Dwamena November 26, 2019 769 0

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has said that tourism has great potential to accelerate progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

If well managed, he said, the sector can generate quality jobs, reduce poverty and offer incentives for environmental conservation – a triple win of the kind that can help countries transition towards more inclusive and resilient economies.

Dr Bawumia was speaking at the First Regional Congress of Women in Tourism Empowerment – Focus on Africa, held in Accra under the theme “Building the Future Together”.

Fastest-growing

He said tourism constitutes one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, making it a highly competitive socio-economic and environmental activity in developed and developing countries alike.

“The tourism market has shown strong growth across Africa in recent years,” Dr Bawumia said. “The UN World Tourism Organisation’s 2016 Highlights report found that Africa welcomed nearly 55.3 million international tourists in 2014 and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 63 per cent of the number.

“In the decade from 2005 to 2016, tourism in Africa increased by about 51 per cent.”

The Vice-President said that recent data published by the World Bank suggests phenomenal growth in the industry over the past decade and a half.

“I am reliably informed that UNWTO is working hard and diligently to harness tourism’s immense contribution to develop the most vulnerable members of our society. Several policies have been developed; others, I have been told, are under way in the framework of the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty initiative,” he said.

State support

The Vice-President noted the efforts the government is making to support tourism. These include the national digital address system, which will allow tourists to locate all tourist sites easily.

He also announced that Ghana will introduce an e-visa system next year and also push for a single air transport market under the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

Dr Bawumia further said the government is working with all of Ghana’s partners to speed up implementation of the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project, which is worth US$1.2 billion and is expected to create roughly 600,000 jobs.

“The Ministry of Tourism is also collaborating with the Forestry Commission and private investors to develop four major ecotourism sites of international standards. Under the Ghana Tourism Development project, the government is upgrading several of the popular tourist sites in the country,” he announced.

He also reminded participants that the Creative Arts Industry Bill is before cabinet for consideration. When passed, the bill, among other things, will establish the Creative Arts Fund and an agency to promote the arts industry.

Local content

The Vice-President urged the congress participants to explore deeply how they can use tourism to tackle certain common development challenges while working with all interested groups to develop the industry.

“Where possible, we should promote our local content in all sectors of the regional economy, given the enormous resources that have gone into developing human capital in our countries.

“I indulge all of you to contribute generously to improve the industry and empower women in tourism for sustainable development and to improve the living standard of our people,” Dr Bawumia said.

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