Entertainment of Friday, 13 January 2017
The Minister designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, is eyeing creating jobs and boosting local tourism if given the nod to serve.
The Minister-designate believes that Ghana is blessed with a lot of tourism potential which needs to explored. She hopes to use that same potential as an avenue to give employment to the youth.
Speaking after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced her appointment in his third batch of Ministerial appointees, Madam Afeku described tourism as the ‘invisible export’ which has “a lot potential for job creation in the tourism industry.”
She said if she is approved, with the help of her team get Ghanaians buying into the knowledge that tourism is a viable GDP contributor, a vehicle for the transformation of the nation.
As to what she brings to the job, she noted that she is blessed with a transnational background which is a plus and hopes to use that to tap into Ghana’s blessed natural heritage to achieve success.
“We been blessed with natural heritage, we have very beautiful coastal areas, we have the natural vegetation and we have what I call the Akwaaba effect – the Ghanaian effect.
“I grew up in Kenya, I studied in Switzerland, I actually lived and had my children in the US, so with my transnational background, I have an appreciation of different cultures. I think we can bottle and package the Ghanaian hospitality to create a vehicle for jobs especially for the youth,” she explained.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Evalue Jomoro-Gwira Constituency in the Western region hopes to create a conducive environment where people will buy into going out to patronise Ghanaian tourist attractions.
“I think we will see a boost in domestic tourism and also work to,” ensure a reduction in air tariffs to boost travelling so Ghanaians can have an interest in tourism.
Touching on creative arts, Catherine Afeku said “We are blessed with a lot of creativity, a lot of talent in our nation and I think we can harness most of our people to sell Ghana to the world.”
If approved, she will take over from Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare who served as the sector minister from 2013 to 2017.
Madam Afeku among her duties will help President Akufo-Addo achieve his manifesto promise of constructing national theatres in all ten regions and also:
a. Aggressively develop our tourist sites to bring them to world-class standards, complete with the requisite amenities and facilities.
b. Pursue a deliberate marketing programme to promote our unique historical sites, flora and fauna, waterfalls and other cultural artifacts.
c. Take the staffing of these tourist sites and our hospitality industry as a whole seriously. To improve professionalism in the sector, we will partner with the private sector to set up a state-of-the-art hospitality teaching facility, with an operational hotel, classrooms, kitchens, library, and dormitories.
d. Encourage local communities to take ownership and be invested in the sustainability of tourist attractions in their localities, champion a revenue sharing programme to inject 5% of tourism revenues from fees of well-developed tourist attractions into local community projects.
e. Promote domestic tourism, by making it an aggressive plank of our tourism strategy with a marketing drive centred on entrenching a tourism culture among Ghanaians.
f. Reviewed and actively implement the Culture Policy developed under the Kufuor-led NPP government to give our culture pride of place in our national development.
g. Build a detailed inventory of all our cultural assets, so the nation has a database of these assets.
h. The Copyright Act 2005 (Act 690), among other provisions, provides for the protection of Adinkra symbols and the older Kente designs as expression of folklore. Ensure that the provisions regarding the protection of Kente and Adinkra designs are strictly enforced against illicit exploitation by foreign interests, to enable the country maximize revenue through the proper marketing of these heirlooms.
i. Establish a Creative Arts Fund to make available funds to modernize and develop the sector.
j. Create a Division of the High Court, focusing on the Creative Arts to deal with all matters relating to intellectual property rights, complete with a dedicated enforcement unit.
k. Establish a Creative Arts Council to coordinate and harmonize the various interests and fragmented associations into a well-functioning body to protect the interests of members.
l. Collaborate with private sector interests to acquire the technology and equipment needed to log creative works, in order to determine true and deserved royalties.
m. Promote regional and district literature, music, dance and drama competitions, particularly in schools and colleges, and
n. Pursue the construction of modern large seating theatres in every regional capital except Accra, beginning with Takoradi, Tamale and Kumasi, as well as setting up an additional Copyright Office in Tamale to cater for the northern sector in addition to the existing ones in Accra and Kumasi.