By Nicholas Osei-Wusu
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has hinted at leveraging the vast interest in funeral celebrations in Ghana, particularly in the Ashanti region, to promote the celebration as a new tourist attraction.
The plan will encompass creating food and beverage joints for the sale of local dishes as well as provide a mass transportation system to convey visitors or mourners to traditional sites as a side attraction of funeral rites.
Additionally, the Ministry is pursuing corporate and educational tourism to boost local and international arrivals and visits towards the attainment of the Ministry’s target of generating six billion dollars annually for national development.
The sector Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, made this known in Kumasi at the opening of a capacity-building workshop for selected journalists.
The participating journalists were selected from the Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions constituting the Middle Zone of Ghana.
The training is the second in a series by the Ministry for Tourism, Arts and Culture to build the capacity of, and encourage the media to give much attention to the promotion of the tourism sub-sector of Ghana.
The participants were taken through, among other issues as who a tourist is, what goes into tourism data, revenue landscape as well as better telling the tourism story.
The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said Ghana is taking after France and Spain as leaders in global tourism by targeting to attract more tourism from within and beyond Ghana.
According to him, aside from aiming to generate six billion dollars from one point-two million tourism visitors annually, the ministry seeks to create more employment, for which various innovative and creative strategies are being developed including leveraging in funeral celebrations.
The Minister disclosed also, that, to overturn the devastating impact COVID-19 had on tourism in the country, the ministry, with funding by the World Bank, has disbursed about 20 million Ghana Cedis in grants to selected local organizations within the tourism, arts and culture subs sector of the national economy.
Dr. Awal said his Ministry is working with the Roads and Highways counterpart to construct at least 50 kilometres of roads annually to tourist sites in the country as an incentive for visitors.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Frederick Adjei Rudolph, disclosed that some tourist sites, including the Manhyia Palace Museum, have been given grants for upgrade to enhance their attraction to visitors.
He urged journalists to pay attention to tourism but exercise circumspection when writing the stories so as to help encourage local and foreign visits.