By Alex Eddie
A two-day Presidential Summit on Tourism has ended in Ghana with a call for sustainable community tourism practices to promote jobs, generate foreign exchange, and stimulate infrastructure development.
The event, which was under the theme: Rethinking Tourism for Economic Growth and Job Creation”, was being organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), led by Dr Ibrahim Mohammedh Awal, and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), led by Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, and was the first to be organised in the country.
The event brought together tourism stakeholders, including those from the private sector, to explore new approaches to tourism that prioritise national development, job creation, and sustainable tourism.
Ambassador Nancy Q. Sam, Vice President of the Economic Community for the West African States (ECOWAS) Tourism Private Sector Confederation (COPITOUR), who was present at the event, expressed gratitude to the President for opening his arms to support tourism and the private sector.
“We are thankful to the President under whose auspices this maiden event is taking place… It was a time of interaction with the President who opened his arms to support tourism and the private sector,” she said.
Speaking at the inaugural Presidential Summit on Tourism at the Peduase Lodge in the Eastern Region, the President stressed the need for stakeholders in the tourism industry to collaborate to make Ghana a world-class tourist destination.
He used the opportunity to call on citizens to guard against actions that tend to derail the country’s peaceful coexistence to achieve the goal.
President Akufo-Addo charged participants to focus on the 4Ps: preservation, promotion, policy leadership, and partnership and directed the Ministry of Tourism to ramp up promotional activities to achieve two million international arrivals by 2025, which will result in earnings of four billion dollars.
He urged stakeholders in the tourism industry to unite and position the country as a world-class tourist destination.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said the tourism industry had commenced exhibiting signs of growth after the consequences of COVID-19.
Other participants present at the event were Heads of some tourism institutions, including the Presidents of the Tour Operators, Mrs. Alisa Asamoah; the President of Hotels, Dr Nyameke as well as Country Directors of some African airlines, such as Kenya Airways, Rwanda Airlines, Qatar Airways, and South Africa Airways, among others.
Ghana’s tourism has experienced steady growth over the last 5 years (2017–2022), reaching a pre-pandemic high of 1,130.307 international arrivals in 2019.
From 355,108 international arrivals in 2020, a total of 623,523 and 914,892 visitors were recorded in the country in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
The year 2023 is expected to record a 30% growth with sustained average visitor spending.