The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has set a target to increase domestic tourism arrivals which fell from 600,000 to 200,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic to one million by the end of this year.
The deputy sector minister, Mark Okraku Mantey, made this known when he opened the second quarterly Public-Private Partnership Forum (PPPF) of the Ghana Tourist Authority in Ho last Monday.
The event, sponsored by Ecobank, was under the theme: “Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) to increase tourism investment and accelerate socio-economic transformation.”
The aim was to find the effective ways of addressing obstacles affecting the smooth progress of industry.
The topics treated included Opportunities in AfCTA for Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Exploring Investment Opportunities to take Advantage of AfCTA.
About 300 stakeholders in the industry made up of hoteliers, tour promoters, representatives of the Ghana Tourism Federation, leaders of the Nigerian Community in Ghana, personnel of the security agencies and staff of the GTA attended the forum.
Meanwhile, Mr Mantey said President Akufo-Addo, had challenged the ministry to generate $ 4 billion by 2024, adding that the realisation of that revenue would make tourism the number one contributor to the country’s GDP.
Expanding the industry
That vision, Mr Mantey explained, was in line with the policy of diversifying and expanding the tourism industry, under the Medium-Term National Development Framework of 2022-25.
He pointed out that although tourism was a great business capable of driving socio-economic growth, its benefits would not be fully recognised without an effective collaboration with the private sector.
“In addition, improving the culture and its artistic assets also requires public-private partnership because it is an important element of the tourism product that creates distinctiveness in the crowded global market,” he further said.
Mr Mantey gave an assurance that the ministry would continue to support the private sector through the Ghana Tourism Development Project by improving tourist sites and increase visitation to those areas.
The Chief Executive Officer of GTA, Kwasi Agyeman, said in spite of the recent draw backs in the tourism industry due to COVID-19, the sector was in a resilient area with bright prospects of bouncing back with great impact.
The PPPF is meant to engage the private sector in discussing pertinent issues that impact on the development of the tourism sector.
The engagements of the public and private sectors are also to build synergy towards the development of the sector and to provide a holistic approach in unlocking the potential of the industry.