Tourism Ministry launches App to spur growth

BY: Chris Nunoo
• Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, interacting with Ambassador Eliphas M. Barine, the Kenyan High Commissioner to Ghana, after the launch of the national tourism destination single window project in Accra. With them are Mr Ahmed Naamann (2nd right), Director of Dodi Travel and Tours, and some other guests.
• Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, interacting with Ambassador Eliphas M. Barine, the Kenyan High Commissioner to Ghana, after the launch of the national tourism destination single window project in Accra. With them are Mr Ahmed Naamann (2nd right), Director of Dodi Travel and Tours, and some other guests.

The Ministry of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture has launched the National Tourism Destination Single Window Application (App), VisitGhana.

The app is a platform on which players in the industry in the country can market their products and services to tourists across the globe by uploading their pictures, information and activities.

The App, born out of a study a couple of years ago, is part of efforts to revamp the tourism industry, improve the channels of tourism penetration and appeal to a wider market beyond the country.

Training

At the launch of the App in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said the ministry and its agencies would train 10,000 players in the tourism value chain this year and early next year as part of efforts to change the face of the sector.

The beneficiaries include tour operators and owners of hotels, restaurants and chop bars.

He said the target of his outfit was to equip the players in the industry with skills and competencies for Ghana to become the number one tourism destination on the continent.

Job creation

“Under our new tourism brand, we want to create a million jobs between now and 2024 on domestic and international tourism,” Dr Awal said, and added that the feat could not be achieved without the players living up to expectation.

“We will also engage the hotel owners to make our signages bilingual, that is French and English. In future, we will introduce Chinese, German and Spanish.

“We want to attract people from francophone countries because about eight countries in West Africa are francophone,” the minister said, and urged the tourism operators to be modern and competitive.

Subsequently, Dr Awal indicated that the ministry, for that matter the country, was expecting 250, 000 visitors from the diaspora in the last quarter of the year under the “Beyond the Return” initiative.

Ghana CARES

Under the economic recovery financing plan, Ghana CARES ‘Obaatanpa’ programme, Dr Awal said GH¢100 million would be invested to make the tourism sector competitive.

“We want to create tourism entrepreneurs, so don’t see tourism as a ‘two-by-four business’. It is my hope Ghana will make $5 billion a year from tourism. Tourism is business, so see it as such,” the Tourism Minister emphasised and urged the operators to treat visitors well when they arrived.

Dr Awal advised them to be customer-friendly and operate within international standards that were acceptable everywhere to make tourism number one and the new business.

Assurance

He gave an assurance that the government would continue to improve infrastructure in the sector as it worked to create the one million jobs in the next four years.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr Akwasi Agyeman, advised the stakeholders to access the app and load their own services, pictures, information and materials onto the platform.

He said the introduction of the app was triggered by the outcome of a study conducted within the industry a few years ago which made it obvious that the use of mobile phones among the tourism operators was common, hence the decision to capitalise on it to create the platform.

Mr Agyeman pointed out that the platform was available and robust enough for operators to take advantage of.

Appreciation

The President of the Ghana Tourism Federation, Mrs Bella Ayayee Ahu, in a brief remark, expressed appreciation to the GTA and the Ministry of Tourism for the App which would enable them to market the industry and its players to the global community.

She, therefore, urged all the players in the industry to seize the opportunity to go global.

“The minister has done what it is supposed to do, it is now left with us. We are to sign up to this app, visitGhana, and market our products. 

“As we go global, we need to bring our products up to speed to compete and bring them up to standard so that when visitors come they will not be disappointed,” Mrs Ahu advised.