Ghana will earn $8.3 billion from the tourism sector by 2027 on the back of an estimated 4.3 million international tourists, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu- Adjare, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Art, has said.
She said in 2012 the tourism sector raked in $1.7 billion from 993,600 international tourists, providing employment for 359,000 people.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare, who made this known at the launch of a Domestic Tourism Promotion Project in Accra on Wednesday, said tourism is a pillar of the Ghanaian economy and called on stakeholders to assist the Ministry to promote the sector.
The project dubbed: “Explore Ghana,” seeks to encourage Ghanaians to visit the country’s attractive tourism sites through vigorous promotion and showcasing of aspects of the cultural heritage and creative arts products and services.
It is being organized by the Ministry in collaboration with Ghana Tourist Authority, Graphic Communications Limited, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Voltic Mineral Water and other stakeholders.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said domestic Tourism or internal tourism could reinforce Ghanaians appreciation of their rich cultural heritage and natural endowments and foster national cohesion and peace.
“The movement of tourists within the country can help create income earning opportunities for residents of rural communities and help alleviate poverty through the sales of arts and craft items, provision of hospitality services and tour guiding services and others,” she said.
The Minister announced that the Ministry in conjunction with Government Ministries, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and other stakeholders are making tourist sites accessible by reconstructing major roads to the centres.
She cited the reconstruction of Fulfuso-Damango road in the Northern Region into a first class asphaltic surface road to link the Northern and Upper West Regions through Damango to enhance travelling to the Mole National Park.
She said the construction of the Eastern Corridor Road to facilitate travel to the mid Volta Region where Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and the Tagbo Waterfalls are located as some of the efforts.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare urged NGOs, MMDAs, traditional authorities and civil society organis0ations to get involved in the development and promotion of the tourism resources of their districts.
Affail Monney, Director of Radio, GBC, noted that the domestic tourism promotion initiative would enhance economic growth and create more jobs for the youth.
He pledged the corporation’s preparedness to join hands with the ministry to stimulate domestic tourism by showing the country’s natural and historical sites on National Television.
He announced that GBC would soon revisit the collection of Television License Fees, which would be started with hotel operators adding that the GH¢3.00 fees is no longer relevant and so the corporation is getting Parliament to review the sum.
Samuel Atta Mills, Acting Chief Director, Ghana Tourism Development Corporation, said the socio-economic benefits of tourism are enormous and urged all to support the Ministry to market the sector.