Ghana raked in $1.8bn from tourism in 2010
 
Posted on: 2011-Sep-08        Joy fm
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The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority [GTA], Julius Debrah has disclosed that Ghana earned some $1.8 billion from tourism in 2010. The figure, he noted, was realized from some 950,000 tourists who visited the country within the period.

Speaking on Multi TV’s current affairs show, pm: EXPRESS, Mr. Debrah said if the country comes to terms with the fact that its tourism base has to be expanded and developed, tourism revenue will shoot up and projects can be funded with the revenue accrued from the sector.

According to the GTA boss, Ghana’s tourism potentials have a certain uniqueness about them which other competitors lack and called for the harnessing of these unique qualities to the benefit of the citizenry.

Parliament recently passed the Ghana Tourism Authority bill [Act 817] which upgraded the Ghana Tourist Board to an Authority now known as the Ghana Tourism Authority [GTA]. The GTA is expected, among others, to promote the sustainable development of the country’s tourism industry both internally and internationally.

A Tourism lecturer at Zenith College, Jacob Oti Awere, who was also on the show, lauded the new law which set up the GTA describing it as an enormous improvement over the old LI that was in operation. He was particularly happy that the new law criminalizes sex tourism.

Mr. Oti Awere noted that the previous Ghana Tourist Board had very little control over certain resources used to promote tourism in the country such as the museums, monuments, wildlife, forestry, etc.

According to him, the new law makes room for a multi-sectoral approach in addressing issues on the tourism front by ensuring that there is government representation on the GTA from the Ministries of Chieftaincy, Lands and the Forestry Commission as well as the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.

He was worried that the “previous law did not make Ghana a best tourism practice place” and urged the GTA to take advantage of their upgraded status to rope in the private sector to support investments in the tourism sector.

Jacob Oti Awere also tasked the GTA to consider adopting the pricing mechanism used by the Wild Life division who beat down prices for locals who visit tourist sites in a bid to encourage local tourism.

According to him, “price discrimination is allowed in tourism” and asked that conscious efforts be made to introduce incentives such as rebates for a pack of tourists to further encourage patronage.

The GTA Chief Executive however revealed that Ghana is doing well in the area of educational tourism and hinted that plans are underway to make souvenirs available at the various tourist sites so that people who visit such sites can purchase them to show that they visited specific tourist locations in the country.

He noted that the dependence of the former Tourist Board on government limited their output in the past since they existed solely on government subventions. He however noted that the tourism sector will take on a new phase once the necessary legal provisions for the sector are in place.