Akwasi Agyeman (left), Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, addressing participants in the ceremony.  Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Akwasi Agyeman (left), Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, addressing participants in the ceremony. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

GTA targets 1.5 million domestic visits to sites

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has set a target of 1.5 million domestic visits to tourist sites by the end of this year.

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Additionally, the authority anticipates to record 1.3 million international arrivals, with the month of December expected to bring in 120,000 of the arrivals.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GTA, Akwasi Agyeman, who made this known, said the move was to consolidate the gains made so far after the launch of the Beyond the Return (BTR) initiative to boost domestic tourism.

He was speaking at the launch of this year’s December in GH, one of the initiatives by the GTA meant to boost domestic tourism in the country.

The initiative was launched in 2019 as part of the government’s agenda to attract tourists into the country. In 2019, 31 events were endorsed but the list increased to 183 as of 2023.

The events for this year’s December in GH take place from November 15, 2024 to January 5, 2025.

Context

Following the launch of the BTR initiative, the country’s tourism industry has seen a rise in figures in terms of visits to tourist sites and attractions, average number of days people spend in the country and the average expenditure by tourists.

Participants in the ceremony.

Participants in the ceremony

For instance, statistics from the GTA shows that visits to tourist sites and attractions rose from 650,000 in 2019 to 914,000 in 2022 (after COVID-19) and hit an all-time high of 1.4 million in 2023.

Economic boost

Mr Agyeman described the increase in visits to domestic tourist sites as a significant development for the country’s tourism sector. “In 2023, the target was to do 1 million domestic visits to tourist sites but we ended up with 1.4 million, indicating that we exceeded the target by 400,000. We hope the 1.5 million domestic tourists targeted for this year will be realised,” he added.

He added that the average number of days people were spending in the country increased from 10 in 2022 to 12 days in 2023 while average expenditure per person rose from GH¢2,700 to GH¢2,900.

In terms of the number of arrivals, he said it moved from 915,000 to 1.1 million, indicating that domestic tourism was getting more attractive. Mr Agyeman underscored the need for more attention to be given to domestic tourism because its economic benefits were enormous and cut across the value chain.

“Last year, we registered 322 new tourism projects, some being hotels, restaurants, resorts, and that shows the level of interest in the sector,” he said. 

December in GH

Touching more on the December in GH initiative, Mr Agyeman said event organisers and promoters who wanted to have their programmes endorsed as an official event for December in GH must submit a formal proposal for endorsement latest by April 30, this year.

He also assured both local and international tourists that this year's election would not affect December in GH, a government initiative meant to boost domestic tourism. "We want to send a clear message to our potential tourists that they should come to Ghana in their numbers because elections will not affect tourism and the associated events," he said.

He said a committee which had officials from the GTA, BTR Secretariat, National Security and the Ghana Police Service would scrutinise the proposals to ensure that organisers had adequate security plans to guarantee the safety of patrons.

Mr Agyeman said the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, had keen interest in the security arrangements at the event centres, especially so when those activities would take place at the peak of this year's electoral process.

The Director of the BTR Secretariat, Annabelle McKenzie, encouraged all stakeholders and Ghanaians to take keen interest in the December in GH events because it had enormous opportunity for economic growth given its pivotal contributions to the tourism and hospitality industry.

He urged all events organisers to ensure that their programmes within the period of December in GH would be planned taking into consideration the safety of patrons.

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