On Tuesday, the 13th of December 2022, The Ministry of Tourism organized a consultative Stakeholder Engagement Workshop at Ell king Hotel, East Legon in Accra to review a draft policy on the sector. Stakeholders were from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as the Academia and the Private sector. The aim of the workshop was to contribute
Dr. Alphonse Kumaza, Principal Tourism Officer at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on behalf of the Chief Director, Mr John Agbeko welcomed all to the meeting. He gave the main reason for congregating as helping to share ideas and thoughts on how to make the draft policy document developed for the sector a better one. He took participants through the sections of the document highlighting on the thematic areas and how it would help us achieve our mandate as a sector.
Dr. Kumaza’s presentation, also listed key policy decisions to consider. Among them were economic benefits, goals of tourism development, economic integration, the people that development of tourism is likely to affect them, safety and security, the tourist experience, protection of the environment and the preservation of culture among others.
He said there’s a yawning gap between the poor and the rich in Ghana and that the tourism policy would seek to close that gap. Adding to that, he said most tourists do not travel just to see forests and natural resources so there’s the need to involve recreational centres and amusement parks which would attract them into the country.
He spoke extensively on the need to train the human resource and develop their skills to make tourism in the county comparable with other well-known destinations. Dr. Kumaza also argued for the need to revive the ministerial advisory group to really push for development in tourism in Ghana. He also suggested that it should be headed by the Vice President so that it will not be seen or treated as one of the entities created just because the law requires it to be so but treated with the attention of the highest office in the country.
He also threw light on domestic tourism as a major driver of tourism in Ghana citing some countries such as China, Malaysia, and India as examples to emulate. He also discussed the collaboration and synergy of the private and government sectors working in tandem to promote tourism.
Another important topic Dr. Kumaza touched on was formulating contingency policies to be implemented in case of a pandemic. He said that Ghana had had no plan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and as such the sector suffered terribly. He further went on to explain the importance of having such policies in place just in case Ghana was to encounter another pandemic.
Concluding, he said there was the need for a strategy on how the policy would be implemented and the roles that would be required of the different stakeholders. According to him the strategic goals of the policy must be to have a year-round travel destination to increase visitors spending and time spent to boost tourism contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of Ghana, create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the tourism sector and ensure the supply of a skilled labor pool, to make the tourism sector more competitive. Again, it must be able to attract the needed private sector investment, to preserve and enhance the nation’s natural and cultural resources and to ensure the nation’s tourism sector develops in a sustainable, ethically, and inclusively.
There was an open forum where various stakeholders in the industry contributed their views as to what must go into the policy. At the end of the discussions, it was agreed that, there was the need to have a second Stakeholder consultation to ensure that the policy captures the most relevant and important issues discussed at the just ended meeting.
The session was facilitated by Ms Constance A. Takyi, the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry