Entertainment of Wednesday, 11 October 2017
A beachfront tourism enclave is to be developed along the coast of Accra to meet the needs of the business community and tourists, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has announced.
When completed, he said, the enclave, to be established on a 97.5-hectare stretch of land, would host more than 70 world-class hotels, amusement and theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, conference halls, an amphitheatre, a cultural village and concourses.
Speaking at the opening of the World Tourism Forum dubbed: ‘The Africa Summit’ in Accra yesterday, the Vice-President said the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and its implementing agencies — the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ghana Tourist Development Company (GTDC) — were spearheading the Marine Drive investment project.
“The strategy is to build on a solid base and expand tourism across the country and into new market segments,” he said.
Dr Bawumia said there was the need for tourism industry players to work hard and participate in the project.
The World Tourism Forum – Africa Summit is a global event established to bring experts, enthusiasts, key players and stakeholders in the tourism industry together to promote investment and fill a gap in the international tourism industry.
The event has enjoyed steady growth each year since its inception in 2014.
Topics for this year’s event include “Destination management, heritage tourism, tourism investments” and “Online tourism and adventure tourism”.
“We in Africa are already blessed with a conducive climate and rich natural resources. Eco-tourism should, therefore, come easy to us once we focus on building the right infrastructure, as well as bolster security within our borders, so that tourists to our countries remain safe and protected,” the Vice-President said.
He said Ghana was currently collaborating with other West African countries to facilitate the movement of goods and services within the sub-region as part of the continental initiative to facilitate visa-free movement in Africa.
In that regard, he said, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration was seriously working on the issuance of E-visas. The goal, he said, was to make Ghana among the top preferred tourist destinations globally.
“These well-known and preferred tourist destinations worked hard to set themselves apart from other nations. Ghana will take heed from such best practices to become a household name in the tourism industry,” he said.
Dr Bawumia said the government was also focused on improving infrastructure within the sector through investment and pursuing mutually beneficial partnerships with investors and other nations in sub-Saharan Africa to expand the market.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku, said Ghana had seen a rise in tourist arrivals from 286,600 in 1995 to about 1.2 million in 2016.
Tourism alone, she said, contributed about three per cent to gross domestic product (GDP) and provided about 450,000 jobs in 2016, with indirect multiplier effects.
She said the expected growth path of the tourism sector, according to the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), was to more than double tourism revenue from the current $2.2 million to $8.38 billion by 2027.
To achieve that ambitious target, she said, the government had set itself on a path of providing a conducive environment for tourism investments, easing business pressure on tourism business operators and the re-introduction of appropriate incentives to boost growth.