-To boost Ghana’s tourism sector – Dr Bawumia
The government of Ghana will next year commence issuing e-visas as part of measures to increase the country’s tourism potential and as well as position her as a tourist designation of choice in Sub-Saharan Africa.
With this, potential tourists seeking to visit Ghana can apply for a visa electronically without the need to visit a Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate.
Vice-President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia made the announcement in Accra yesterday, when he delivered the keynote address at the maiden Regional Congress on Women Empowerment in the Tourism Sector.
He noted that government acknowledges the vast potentials in the tourism sector and is thus implementing policies and strategies to position it as one of the channels to building a strong and inclusive economy as well as to improve the livelihoods of those who live around tourism destinations.
In furtherance of this, he said Ghana is accelerating its Tourism Development Programme and implementing programmes such as the implementation of its Marine drive Tourism Investment Project which is expected to create about 600,000 jobs.
Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism is also collaborating with the Forestry Commission and private investors to develop four major eco-tourism sites of international standards as well as upgrading several of the popular tourist sites in the country.
The Vice-President also noted that the Creative Arts Industry Bill is at cabinet for consideration.
Dr. Bawumia said the Act which would among other things establish the Creative Arts Fund and an Agency to promote the industry.
He noted that the country was leveraging on its rich culture and resources to create an industry that would help speed up the socio-economic fortunes of the country.
He emphasised the importance of the tourism sector which has evolved to become a global and highly competitive socio-economic and environmental activity in both developed and developing countries, creating skilled and unskilled jobs in the supply value chains.
“Tourism has a great potential to accelerate progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If well managed, the sector can generate quality jobs, reduce poverty and offer incentives for environmental conservation – a triple-win to help countries transition towards more inclusive, resilient economies.
“And tourism ranks as one of the major source of foreign exchange earnings in many developing countries,” he stated.
He added that Agenda 2063 plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future has incorporated tourism as a means to an end noting that African countries need to align their tourism plans with the aspirations projected in the plan.
“It is imperative that the African Union (AU) oversees that there is consistent and sustainable tourism development across all member state,” Dr Bawumia said.
The Vice-President noted further that it was incumbent on governments on the continent, to create the enabling environment for the private sector to drive the tourism industry.
“To do this, we must strengthen government-private sector engagement, exchanging ideas, devising supportive policy frameworks, providing smart subsidies and incentives where they are most needed. This is the way to encourage start-ups in the sector, especially when it comes to the participation of women and the youth in the industry,” he added.
He charged participants of the conference to explore deeply how tourism could be used as a means to tackle some common development challenges including poverty, illiteracy, diseases, outmoded cultural practices, and mismanagement of natural resources.
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary- General, World Tourism Organisation emphasised the need to mainstream gender equality and women empowerment in tourism development on the continent as women have been at the forefront of her development.
Source: Daniel NONOR, thefinderonline.com