Government of Ghana has set aside about $10 million as seed money to refurbish existing tourist sites around the country to boost patronage.
President Nana Akufo-Addo made this known when he commissioned the renovated National Museum at Adabraka in Accra over the weekend.
“Government has committed US$10 million to rehabilitate and build a number of tourist and heritage attractions, including the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, the Cape Coast and Elmina castles, the Manhyia Palace Museum, the Gbewaa Palace Museum and the Yaa Asantewaa Museum among others,” Mr. Akufo-Addo said.
He believes this will boost the country’s tourist activities and rake in an amount of US$4 billion for Ghana.
That, he said was because tourism, arts and culture “are effective tools for economic transformation,” and Ghana “can benefit from this because we possess a significant number of heritage resources.”
Ghana, the President indicated, has 65 per cent of the edifices linked with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the oldest European edifice in Africa, whilst the Elmina castle which was built in 1482 is right here in the country.
For him, these and other tourists’ potentials in the country “gives us a considerable advantage” for the country’s ability to attract tourists.
“With the tourism industry currently ranking as the third largest contributor to our GDP after cocoa and our hydro-carbon resources, government seeks to position the sector to contribute even more to the size our nation’s GDP,” he said.
With that, he said, “I am throwing a challenge to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and its implementing agencies to achieve 2 million international arrivals by the year 2024, with the corresponding revenue of some US$4 billion.”
Apart from that, he said “the Tourism Ministry should further create some 150,000 jobs through its activities annually, in line with my government’s objective of providing jobs for our young people.”
President Akufo-Addo stressed the belief that “the renovated national museum”, which he commissioned, “has the potential to stimulate the development of the creative and cultural industry towards the sustainable development of the country.”
He further indicated that “the renovated museum is expected to attract not less than 120,000 visitors annually and create some 15,000 jobs.”
“The rapid development of our economy which we are rapidly striving to achieve in order to raise the living standards of the Ghanaian people to dignified levels has to go hand in hand with the flowering of our arts and culture, which defines Ghana’s unique contribution to African and world civilisation,” the President said.
That, he said, was part of reasons his administration is making efforts to boost the tourism sector to ensure that the target of 2 million arrivals is achieved.
On his part, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mohammed Awal, assured the President that his ministry has put in place a comprehensive financial model that will ensure that the national museum is never closed down again as a result of maintenance constrains.
He commended the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah and the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, for supporting the agenda of his ministry and government, aimed at improving the nation’s tourism sector.