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Madam Catherine Ablema Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, says Ghana would soon construct Akwaaba Hotels across the country, to provide affordable hotel accommodation to both domestic and foreign tourists.
She said those hotels would be funded under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement through the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), which would use the land as equity, while the private sector investors provide the funds for the actual construction.
The Minister said some investors had already entered into agreements with the GDTC so that the allodial owners of the land would be brought on board to avoid any land litigation.
She added that the move was aimed at promoting domestic tourism, whereby the average Ghanaian can afford to spend time with the family there.
Madam Afeku made the disclosure when she took her turn at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra, yesterday.
The event provides a platform for the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to respond to critiques, criticisms and provide further explanation on implementation of government programmes and policies, as well as receive feedback from the public.
Madam Afeku added that other investors had shown interest in the Akwaaba Hotels initiative and were reviewing the feasibility studies conducted, and also looking at some locations in other regions for the project.
She said: “Through a study conducted by the ministry, we realised that hotel accommodation in the country is too expensive and is a deterrent to tourists.
“Therefore, we needed to have a chain of indigenous hotels like the Kempinskis, Holiday Inns and Ibis, which are owned by other nations, and would be a legacy for President Akufo-Addo,” she explained.
The tourism minister stated that 33 sites had been identified for development into tourist sites across the nation and that a legislative instrument had been approved by cabinet to facilitate the process, which would give the ministry and its agencies oversight responsibility over those sites.
Madam Afeku reminded the media about the Marine Drive Project, which the President cut the sod for commencement of work on December 15, last year.
She said the project comprised a 214-acre land, stretching from Osu Klortey Lagoon to the Accra Community Centre, which would be developed into a tourism enclave.
The Minister said the idea of the project was mooted by the country’s First President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and would have facilities like hotels, malls, concert halls, restaurants and children’s recreational centre.
She said an advisory board had been inaugurated to oversee the implementation of the project.
he added that the ministry has secured a licence from the National Communication Authority to establish a tourism television to promote Ghanaian culture, arts and tourism destinations in the country.
She said feasibility studies had been conducted and the documents forwarded to a consultant to help secure an office accommodation for the television, while feverish preparation was underway to launch it.
The Minister gave a rundown of the various activities the ministry undertook in the past 11 months since she assumed office.
Some activities undertaken by the ministry during the year under review are the celebration of the National Chocolate Day, participation in the World Tourism Forum in Turkey, renovation and re-opening of the Kintampo Waterfall after the deadly storm disaster, signing of Memorandum of Understanding with stakeholders at Kintampo to streamline revenue collection at the waterfall, outdooring of tourism ambassadors, Excellence Breakfast Forum and other initiatives to rake in more revenue for the government.
Madam Afeku, also a Member of Parliament for the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Constituency in the Western Region, stated that government would also establish Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum at Akuapim-Mampong in the Eastern Region.
She said the initiative was in line with the vision of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to promote local consumption of cocoa across the country.
The Minister said the move was to honour Tetteh Quarshie for the historic role he played in bringing cocoa to the country.
Tetteh Quarshie was said to have undertaken a voyage to the Spanish colony, Fernando Po (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea), and brought cocoa to the then Gold Coast on his return.
The ministry, she said, would collaborate with the Ghana Tourism Federation and the Cocoa Processing Company to ensure that hotels across the country provide chocolates to guests as one of the ways of promoting the consumption of cocoa.