Tourism Ministry develops more sites — Okraku-Mantey
Some tourism cites are being developed across the country to make the nation the most preferred tourist destination in the West Africa sub-region.
They include the National Museum, the Kwame Nkrumah Park, the Bonwire Museum, a creative art school and a culture policy to improve on activities in the sector.
At the opening of the 15th Annual Paragliding Festival at Atibie in the Kwahu East District in the Eastern Region last Friday, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey, who said this, added that efforts were being made to turn the industry into a major income earner to support economic development of the country.
“We had a target of becoming the number one in West Africa in terms of tourism by 2026. As I speak, we have been able to exceed the target in 2022 by becoming the most preferred tourist destination in the sub-region,” he added.
Prior to that, the country was ranked the fifth preferred tourism destination in West Africa.
Mr Okraku-Mantey attributed the feat to the government's continuous investment in the industry across the country.
According to the deputy minister, the annual paragliding event played a major role in the growth of domestic and international tourism in the country, and “we thank the private sector for supporting the Kwahu Easter celebrations over the years”.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong, also said the festival projected the rich culture of the people, including their traditional values.
He said the region was endowed with diverse cultural heritage and natural resources, as well as tourism sites such as rivers and lakes.
“The celebration of the annual paragliding festival seeks to unveil opportunities and also expose the area to businesses,” the minister said.
The Chief of Atibie, who is also the Gyasehene of Kwahu Traditional Area, Barima Kwame Asante Betiani II, called on the people to venture into the paragliding business to help boost local tourism.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Akwasi Agyeman, described the annual festival, which had been organised over the last 15 years, as successful.
The paragliding festival came off between Friday, April 7 and Monday, April 10, this year.
It was operated by seven pilots a Ghanaian and six foreigners who displayed their flying skills in the air overlooking Kwahu Atibie and Nkawkaw in the Mpraeso Municipality.
The cost of flying was GH¢950.
Paragliding was introduced as part of the Easter festivities during the tenure of the then Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City Accra, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, after he visited the Kwahu ridge as part of his familiarisation tour of the country in 2003.
The festival is said to be the brainchild of his then personal assistant, Ferdinand Ayim.