Patronise tourism for health benefits - Okraku-Mantey to citizens
This year's Tourism Month celebration has been launched with a call on Ghanaians to travel within the country and patronise domestic tourism not just for entertainment, but for its health benefits as well.
This is because most of the tourist sites, from their flora and fauna have therapeutic scenery which provide a soothing effect and impact positively on health.
A Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Mark Okraku-Mantey, who made the call, explained that it was well known that spending too much time in a particular space can become stressful over time so “a change of environment could be helpful.”
“We know stress kills and it is scientifically proven that just seeing greens or a river flowing is therapeutic, so to all Ghanaians especially the working class, this is the period to take time off and ease yourself.
You may even come back with fresh ideas and energy,” he stressed.
The launch was held last Wednesday at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Accra.
It brought together various stakeholders across the tourism spectrum.
In August 2019, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) declared September of every year as Tourism Month to encourage patronage of important festivals and tourist sites in the country.
The month was strategically chosen because it coincided with the celebration of many festivals across the country and also because the World Tourism Day earmarked by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) was in September.
In Ghana, the focus of the celebration is to promote domestic tourism, a way of presenting the nation’s unique cultural, historical and environmental heritage to the international community and educate citizens about their own heritage in an attempt to generate revenue and provide employment for the youth.
Activities lined up for this year include the Asogli Te Za (Yam Festival), Agona Asafo Akwambo Festival, Oguaa Fetu Afahye, Millennium Half Marathon, Akwasidae Kese, African Para Games, Voyajah Festival, Borbor Mfantsi Amansi Festival and Kundum Festival.
Others include Miss Tourism, Ghana; Ohum Festival, Change of Guard, Wormanne African Wear Festival, 88th Ghana Open, Centre of The World Golf Club, Fun and Fly Paragliding Festival, Yenko Kwahu, Taste of Kwahu, among others.
Festivals not fetish
Mr Okraku-Mantey encouraged the youth to take advantage of the month and experience the nation’s rich culture to broaden their minds and knowledge about what it meant to be truly Ghanaian.
“Young people these day have been made to think our culture, traditions and festivals are fetish, but they are not.
Even if a certain impression has been made about it, go and see it for yourself,” he added.
The Deputy Chief Executive of the GTA, Ekow Sampson, said festivals were an expressive way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture and traditions because they restructured social lives and connected people with their families and backgrounds while relieving them from their day-to-day, exhausting life routines.
He said due to this, the government was currently pursuing quality tourism development that was internationally competitive and compatible with the nation’s social values and environmental settings.
“The ongoing projects, upgrade and renovation of various tourist sites and attractions across the country through the Ghana Tourism Development Project of the World Bank and the Ghana Tourism Development Fund, have a positive effect on both domestic and international tourist arrivals in the country,” Mr Sampson explained.