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SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, ARTS AND CULTURE; HON. BARBARA OTENG-GYASI AT THE GRAND DURBAR OF THE UNITED NATIONS WORLD TOURISM DAY CELEBRATION ON 27TH SEPTEMBER 2020 AT TAKORADI- WESTERN REGION

 

MR. CHAIRMAN

MINISTERS OF STATE, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

MUNICIPAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE

HEADS OF MUNICIPAL, DISTRICT AND ASSEMBLIES

NANANOM, AHEMAA

RELIGIOUS LEADERS

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

 

The year 2020, happens to be the worst year for the tourism and hospitality industry globally. This has been due to the negative effects of the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are mostly due to the placement of restrictions on movement, travel as well as human interactions, which the tourism industry thrives on.

For us in Ghana, some of the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry are; the watering down of the many successes chalked by the “Year of Return” Campaign, a delay in the launch and roll out of the “Beyond the Return” activities and a general downturn in the industry’s performance.  

We in Ghana have seen significant progress in the battle against the pandemic as a result of measures put in place by HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Government and the co-operation and support of the general public. Restrictions have been lessened and it is a blessing for us to be alive to witness this year’s United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Day celebration under the theme ‘‘Tourism and Rural Development”.

Mr. Chairman, it is significant to note that for the first time in the history of  World Tourism Day, the 2020 official celebration will be hosted by a group of countries and not by a single nation. The Mercosur nations (which comprises of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile which has observer status) are hosting this year’s World Tourism Day. This cross-border cooperation of the Mercosur nations reflects the current need for international solidarity and cooperation, towards the achievement of a common goal, especially in tourism development and sustainbility.

This year’s UNWTO Day celebration presents an opportunity for the promotion of rural tourism. Rural tourism, highlights the unique and important role that tourism can play in preserving and promoting natural and cultural heritage as well as curbing of rural urban migration through the provision of opportunities outside the cities. The significance of our rural communities for tourism and for that matter domestic tourism lies in the fact that they play a major role in our daily lives including what we eat, how we dress, the tangible and intangible aspects of our cultural heritage, as captured by the Ghana Tourism Authority’s marketing motif  “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as mentioned earlier, Ghana’s tourism made tremendous strides in the “Year of Return” in 2019, but unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic impacted negatively on the tourism industry. Mr Chairman, the good news, however, is that the sector is expecting 200,000 more visitors from the diaspora to visit tourist sites in the country as the COVID-19 scourge continues to go down. This is corterminous with the “Beyond the Return” initiative, which to a great extent, seeks to position Ghana as the homeland destination for the Africans in the diaspora.

Whilst the industry recovers, stakeholders must find ways to sustain the industry by observing the safety and hygiene protocols that have been put in place by Government; this will go a long way in helping the industry bounce back.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government of Ghana has put in place short and long term sustainable measures that are helping fight and contain the pandemic and help people and businesses to lessen the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For us in the tourism industry, Government rolled out a US$4 million facility to be used for the development of tourism sites and information centres and an extra US$5 million for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in tourism enterprises and businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. There is also an allocation of GH₵600 million stimulus package for operators in the tourism and hospitality industry as well as the allocation of GH₵50 million to the Creative Arts and the Media.

These moves form part of measures to cushion operators in the tourism and hospitality industry, due to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Ghana received an endorsement of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) global safety and hygiene endorsement stamp. This recognition identifies Ghana as one of the safest and preferred holiday tourist destinations amongst other countries in the world. This achievement, Ladies and Gentlemen, will help reopen the travel and tourism sector and provide a significant boost to the national economy.

Mr. Chairman, Nananom, Ghana abounds in unique existing and potential tourism attractions and the Western Region has even more to show. The Western Region boasts of its own unique tourism and hospitality offerings such as castles, beaches, forest reserves, cuisines, cultures, hotels etc., The Western Region is also popularly known for Nzulezo, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mr. Chairman, as impressive and varied as our tourism attractions are in Ghana and in the Western Region, there is the need for sustained marketing programmes and the involvement of local communities in the development and promotion of both domestic and international tourism. To this end, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC) commends the various stakeholders in tourism development and operation, whose activities have placed their communities on the tourism map, created employment and generated revenue that have positively impacted the livelihood of members of their communities. In executing one of our core mandates, which translates into the development of tourism products, the MoTAC, will continue to improve sanitation along the beaches in the Western Region and the rest of Ghana. This is necessary to improve sanitation at the beaches so that tourism potential can be harnessed.

Also, in order to improve visitor experience at the Ankasa Rainforest Reserve, MoTAC has secured a partnership agreement with stakeholders to improve the physical ambience by constructing more washrooms at the Reserve.   

Ladies and Gentlemen, in a move to preserve and maintain our Museums, Castles and Cultural Heritage, the Ministry inaugurated an 11-member committee to plan the establishment of a Gold Museum in Tarkwa towards preserving the long history of the gold industry in Ghana. The significance of the establishment of the museum is to research, collect, interpret, preserve and exhibit tangible and intangible evidence of gold production and its significance in our society and also to boost tourism. In addition, the establishment of the museum will give impetus for providing infrastructure as well as create economic incentives for the regeneration of the rural environment, while creating opportunities for development and employment in the Western Region.

Mr. Chairman, Nananom, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the theme   ‘‘Tourism and Rural Development” presents us with another momentous opportunity for the preservation of our heritage and culture, whilst contributing to economic development.  In this light, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture wishes to pledge its continued support towards the promotion and development of holistic tourism in Ghana.

 

On this note, I wish to express my profound appreciation to all stakeholders involved in the planning of this celebration and making it a reality.

Long live Ghana Tourism! Long live the Western Region!!

God bless us all and Our Homeland Ghana!

WORLD TOURISM DAY PLANNING COMMITTEE INAUGURATED

13 SEP,2020.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ziblim Iddi Barri, has charged the committee responsible for the organization of this year’s World Tourism Day Celebration, to live up to their bidding in making the forthcoming event a memorable one.

He stressed that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic on hand, the committee must strive to further market Ghana on the global map by discharging their duties diligently.

This according to him would further improve Ghana’s image, given the huge success the nation has chalked in the Year of Return Programme by attracting both international and local tourists to Ghana’s attraction sites.

Dr. Barri made these remarks at the inauguration of the Planning Committee for this year’s World Tourism Day Celebration slated for September 27, on the theme: “Building Peace: Fostering Knowledge.”

He said globally, tourism has been viewed as a lead sector for the economic growth and developmental transformational agenda, since it has the propensity to create jobs and accelerate infrastructure development.

He said many countries and local communities around the world including Japan, China, and Korea have properly used tourism to improve on their socio-cultural and economies of their nations, which has invariably reduced poverty in their countries.

He bemoaned that “Despite Africa’s rich tourism attractions, the continent is still lagging in its quest for development,” he said.

He urged the committee to discharge their duties diligently and ensure that the celebration becomes a success.

Mr. John Yao Agbeko, Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, also urged the committee members to fast track their work to meet the timelines of the programme.

Mrs. Bella Ahu, President of the Ghana Tourism Federation and also Co-Chairperson of the planning committee, assured the Deputy Minister that the committee would deliver on its mandate to achieve the overall goal of making the forthcoming celebration huge success.

Meanwhile, World Tourism Day is commemorated each year, on September 27, to foster awareness among the international and local communities of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value across the world.

DIRECTORS AND HEADS OF AGENCIES AT MOTAC TAKE THEIR TURN AT THE SENSITIZATION MEETING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL – ACT 989 of 2019

On Wednesday 8th July, 2020, Directors and Heads of Agencies at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture took their turn at a briefing section by the Ministry of Information.

 In a short statement delivered by the Director of Human Resource at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Vittus Otto Langmagne, he said it was important that the necessary briefing is given to frontline officers, to enable government achieve the smooth implementation of the RTI Bill in Ghana.  According him, the sensitization meeting was a step in the right directors to make the exercise effective in order for government to achieve its purpose.

 

Briefing Directors and Heads of Agencies, Ms. Amma Frimpong said the rationale for the sensitization meetings on the RTI Bill is to ensure that every citizen has the right to information, in order for all to be informed about what is happening our country.

According to her, information is a good resource and the foundation for good governance and democracy.  It will also help us to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

She said there were standards and benchmarks for national and international regimes and this gives effect to freedom of information.  It also helps to promote open government and allows citizens to be given progress on what is taking place in their environments.

 

According to her, though there are exemptions, the idea is to help facilitate access and make information cost effective.  The Bill informs us as to who can have access to information, receive and determine whether an applicant can have access to information or not.  It is this that helps us to streamline the usage and abuse of information by the citizenry.

 

In summary, the good thing about the Bill according to Ms. Amma Frimpong is that it gives protection to all and sundry.

MINISTRY OF TOURISM LAUCNHES FUND TO SUPPORT SMEs IN THE TOURISM SECTOR

  The Minister  of Tourism, Arts and Culture,  Honourable Barbara Oteng Gyasi, on Wednesday 24th June, 2020 launched a fund to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Small and Medium Enterprises in the tourism value chain in Ghana.

The fund is a grant scheme facility under a World Bank project at the Tourism Ministry, which is geared towards supporting and building the capacity of operators in the hospitality and tourism sector in Ghana.

The Senior Minister Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo who was the special guest of honour, indicated that the scheme has come at an opportune time, considering the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious toll on tourism-related businesses in the country. 

According to the Senior Minister, the United Nations World Tourism Organization had estimated that the Small and Medium Enterprises which make up about 80 percent of tourism products are expected to be badly hit by the novel COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

Mr. Osafo Maafo, also used the occasion to assure stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism industry, that government is committed to help turn the economic fortunes of the industry and thereby improve upon the well-being of Ghanaians.

The Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Honourable Barbara Oteng- Gyasi, asked stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity being offered them as a way of supporting them to come out of their current situation brought about as a result of the pandemic.

She urged operators in the hospitality industry who would be successful in accessing the funds to judiciously use the funds for their intended purposes, since it has the propensity to spur growth in Ghana’s tourism sector.

On his part, the Acting Project Coordinator, of the Ghana Tourism Development Project, Mr. Divine Kwame Owusu Ansah, indicated that there were modalities involved in accessing the fund. He stressed that, for an individual or a venture to qualify for the grant, the applicant, among other things must have registered with the Registrar General's Department and be a Ghanaian operating in the tourism value chain venture in Ghana.

He added that interested persons and businesses have between June 24 and July 8, this calendar year to put in their expression of interest on the tourism Ministry’s website.

CATEGORIES OF THE GRANT

The grant is in three phases, the Site Upgrade grant (SUG) which is a marching Grant, aimed at supporting operators of Non- Publicly owned tourist sites to undertake quality upgrades of their sites.

The second category, which is the Small and Medium Enterprise Grant (SMEG) will, however, support firms with already viable businesses prospects and well-developed business plans. This grant can also be applied for by sole proprietorships and enterprises.

While the third category is the Training and Capacity Building Grant, which is also targeting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with new business ideas, less and not well-developed businesses.

BACKGROUD

The world bank Grant is a $ 40- million facility extended to the Government of Ghana, under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture which is the first of its kind in the history of the tourism ministry in Ghana, to support the Government’s continuous quest to develop the tourism and  hospitality landscape, and has 4- year project duration spanning from 2019 to 2022.

Meanwhile, an initial capital of $ 9-Million has been allocated to support about 1,000 businesses in the tourism value chain in Ghana regarding the Grant scheme launched for the SMEs in the tourism sector.         

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

Ministry Overview

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture was renamed in 2017 through Executive Instrument E.I28 Civil Service (Ministries) Instrument, 2017 by His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo to replace the then Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. The Ministry’s policy directive is to provide a firm, stable policy environment for effective mainstreaming of Ghanaian arts and culture into all aspects of national life. This it is believed will help in ensuring the emergence of a strong, vibrant and creative environment that would help improve and advance the Tourism, Arts and Culture industry in Ghana.


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