The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku, has pleaded with players in the creative arts industry to stop politicising the sector.
Speaking at the official launch of the Ghana Tourism Booster Handbook on Tuesday at the Ministry’s conference room, the Minister noted that the situation could hinder the industry’s growth as it makes it difficult to tap into the rich knowledge of players from opposing sides.
The Ghana Tourism Booster Handbook is published by the Musicians Union of Ghana(MUSIGA) in conjunction with the Ministry Tourism, Arts and Culture with support from the US Embassy.
“Yes, there’s a time we can do the politics and campaign for our preferred political parties but that is yet to come. For now, it’s serious business and we need everyone on board to develop the industry.
“When we allow politics to creep into our system, we can’t tap into the knowledge of experts whose guidance could go a long way to help the industry. Ghana is blessed with great human resource and it’s important that we grow beyond politics and make the development of the country our utmost interest,” she said.
Mrs Afeku is not alone in this call. Last week, the Federation of Concerned Arts Professionals (FOCAP), an arts-based pressure group also expressed similar sentiments after the announcement of the selection of 50 tourism ambassadors.
In a statement, the group condemned the Tourism Ministry for relieving radio presenter, Abeiku Santana of his ambassadorial status although he had been very vibrant in the role.
The group sought to portray that Abeiku Santana was excluded because of his affiliation to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), for which he actively campaigned in the 2016 elections.
Using the occasion to clear the air on the matter, Mrs Afeku said the selection of the ambassadors was non-political.
“A lot of concerns have been raised about the selection of these ambassadors but they have been selected for very important roles. They are to project the country’s image and sell our tourist attractions through their work,” she stated.
She noted that the tourism industry needs all stakeholders regardless of their political affiliation to help market Ghana at the International level.
The Minister commended the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) for publishing the tourism handbook to be used by practitioners in their creative endeavours.
“I am aware of the linkages between music and the rest of the creative arts and tourism and the efforts by MUSIGA to promote tourism through music by hosting international launches of the Ghana Music Week Festival in the UK, USA, and China among others.
“This is one of the many endeavours the Union is involved in and I would like to commend the leadership for their vision,” she stated.
In his remarks, the President of MUSIGA, Bice Osei Kuffuor popularly known as Obour said his outfit’s involvement in tourism is due to the umbilical ties it has with music explaining that a vibrant tourism sector has a huge impact on the music industry.
The Union’s determination to see the growth of tourism he said is evident in the annual hosting of the Ghana Music Week Festival.
“The festival is aimed at attracting tourists who can go on to explore our numerous tourist attractions and experience our unique hospitality,” he said.
The launch was attended by representatives from the Public Affairs Department of the US Embassy, the ARSOG, Copy Ghana, GHAMRO, Ghana Tourism Federation, Ghana Tourism Development Corporation, Ghana Tourism Authority and former Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Mr S.K Boafo.