Gov't to focus on local tourism activities to boost the sector
 
Posted on: 2011-Aug-02        Joy fm
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Deputy minister of Tourism Mr. James Agyenim Boateng has said that though traditionally the business of tourism has been about promoting or selling Ghana and Ghana’s travel and tours businesses in Europe and North America, there has been a recent attempt to shift focus slightly from the Western hemisphere to Asia and the Far East in general.

He said the latest focus over the past few months also includes promoting more domestic tourism.

An immediate challenge with promoting local tourism in the country, according to the minister is that Ghanaians generally tended to find accommodation with friends and relatives in areas they travel to, thus, not encouraging a vigorous patronage of hotels and other tourist service facilities.

Mr Agyenim Boateng said that his sector is engaging with tourism operators as well as recreational clubs in schools to help make information readily available to travelers and enhance their service delivery to make them more attractive to the local population.

He said the sector ministry seeks to further promote excursions and travel through the use of celebrated personalities to champion such initiatives.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show with Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Mr. James Agyenim Boateng said statistics show that this initiative is yielding good results as tourism has risen to become the fourth largest foreign exchange earner for Ghana.

On promotional activities for the sector, Mr. James Agyenim Boateng said that because the sector is private sector driven but public sector led, partnerships have been built with all stakeholders to sell Ghana globally.

He added that direct interactions at seminars and conferences held international were still necessary for tourism, but the sector will be further enhanced through distributing electronic catalogs on easily transferable memory sticks.

The minister identified Eco-tourism (Kakum, Mole Park, etc.) and high quality Health Care as some of Ghana’s strongest selling points, adding that the recent World Cup appearance of the national soccer team, the Black Stars, helped drive some appreciable tourist traffic to Ghana.

He indicated that his office has appealed to Ghanaian sporting stars to endeavour to attend national promotions events in their host countries in order to attract public attention towards such events.

He said certain tax incentives which were aimed at developing the tourism sector was recently removed due to abuse stressing that, although the special tax relief (LI 187) was offered to importers of products which were specifically aimed at developing the tourism sector, the policy suffered abuse by importers because of its pervasive nature, thus the need for the law to be repealed.