Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, on Monday visited some tourist sites in Accra to equip himself with the infrastructural gaps in the system and find better ways of solving them.
The Monday tour of the Greater Accra region adds up to 10, the number of regions the Minister had visited to have first-hand information of the sites and work towards making them attractive to both local and international tourists.
Dr Awal said there was a plan to go to all the 16 regions of Ghana to see tourism attractions so that what needed to be developed would be done into acceptable standards and new ones created where necessary.
“The objectives of the government is to at least develop two iconic sites in each of the 16 regions. Ghana is now number three in West Africa to Senegal and Gambia and we do not think this is enough. We think that Ghana is so big and endowed and involved in tourism so by the end of 2024, we want Ghana to be the most attractive tourist country in West Africa.”
He said, “That is why we are touring these sites to see where to partner with the traditional authorities and the communities to uplift the sites. We are the most peaceful nation, in West Africa with very diverse cultures and as many forts and castles and these are unique selling points that Ghana can develop.”
Some of the tourist sites visited include the National Museum, James Town light House and Receptive Facility, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, and Labadi Pleasure Beach.
The sector Minister promised to provide an amount of GHC 800,000 next month towards the completion of the renovation works at the National Museum gallery by the end of September.
He said “by so doing the work would be completed on time and the gallery would be open to the public by the end of the year in order to create more jobs and revenue for the country.”
At the La Pleasure Beach, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, said the Ministry had sourced funding, under the Ghana Cares Programme to develop some model beaches and the starting point was the La pleasure beach.
He said for the Ministry and its implementing agencies to undertake this plan the new Legislative Instrument that had certain guidelines would have to be followed. A master plan on the ground to be funded must be drafted as early as possible.
“This is to make sure that the issue of employment, tenancy agreements, everything must be properly done including environmental and safety issues. The funding is ready and the Ministry is ready and serious to develop the place.”
Mr Agyemang noted that the Sector Minister was making a case for the beaches to be reopened, but for that to happen they must ensure that the protocols were observe.
“There are new guidelines we are bringing in, so we would come and sit with you to discuss the new protocols because this would be the model beach which others would emulate.”
He assured managers of the facility that the Ministry would engage the traditional leaders, the assembly and the community to ensure that operators at the site would not be removed but upgrade their facilities to the required standard, adding, however, that they would find a way of working with them to relocate those on pathways or walkway.
At the James Fort and Kwame Nkrumah Museum the Minister assured that the Ministry would upgrade them to meet international standards to attract more tourist both local and international.
He urged the directors to support the President and the Ministry’s agenda of placing tourism at number one in the economy.