The theme for the 2023 World Tourism Day Celebration is– Tourism and Green Investments. Ghana joined different countries all over the planet to stamp the day with activities in Ada in the Greater Accra region.
Launching the day, Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Mark Okraku Mantey expressed that there is a cooperative connection between tourism, the environment, the planet and individuals and that tourism could be used as a vehicle to promote creative investment in the traditional setting. Moreover, it can also be used to foster a serious and supportable development for people and the country at large.
Mr Okraku Mantey said, there is the need for Ghana to reclassify the bearing of the travel industry, thinking about the interruption brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. Green investment in tourism have become one of the urgent ways for doing as such, for they can add to extensive economic, social, and environmental benefits for countries and communities.
Green investments create stronger linkages with the local economy and increase local development potentials, leading to activities which are indefinite and sustainable in the social, economic, and environmental context.
According to the Deputy Minister, the United Nations emphasizes the need for targeted investment in people and the planet for it to unlock the potential of tourism on its extensive value chain and facilitate investment and opportunities to deliver more inclusive and sustainable growth for the planet around the pillars of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Mr Okraku-Mantey further added that, the Ministry is committed and will set up designated investment to persistently elevate the sector to exploit the industry’s economic benefits.
“The Year of Return initiative for instance helped to revitalise Ghana’s tourism sector and has projected the country significantly as a destination of choice. The 2022 annual report shows that international arrivals grew by about 47% from 623,523 in 2021 to 914,892 in 2022. This means that Ghana’s arrival recovery stood at 81% from pre-pandemic levels, far above the African average”, Mr Okraku Mantey said.
The World Financial Discussion and the 2021 Travel List reports, positioned Ghana as the main the travel industry objective in West Africa. Subsequently, the possible commitment of the travel industry and the imaginative expressions area to Gross domestic product is empowering and should be intentionally supported utilizing every accessible open door.
That being said, the Minister is of the view that, this year’s celebration presents an opportunity to enhance more forcefully, the promotion of sustainable tourism (Ecotourism) as well as investing in people and the planet.
“The development of ecotourism in our communities lies in the preservation of the tangible and intangible aspects of our cultural heritage, our environment, gastronomy, and fashion in line with the “Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and See Ghana” agenda, he said.
He said that given that Ghana is a flourishing ecotourism destination, the theme for the World Tourism Day celebration: “Tourism and Green Investments” is not only timely but necessary.
Through the Ghana Tourism Development project, he said the ministry has commenced investments in tourism-related interventions at some selected eco-tourism sites namely the Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, the Paga Crocodile Pond, Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary, Aburi Botanical Gardens, Nzulenzo Village on Stilts, Mount Afajato, and Kintampo Waterfalls.
Other investments are in museums and monuments and include the renovation of the National Gallery with an ultramodern facility which is currently open to the public and the refurbishment of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.
Furthermore, as part of the agenda to develop the skills set needed to improve the tourism sector, the Ministry through the Ghana Tourism Development Company successfully organized and trained 3000 drivers at the KNUST commercial area in Kumasi.
Hon. Okraku-Mantey said that it was not by accident that Ada was chosen to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day. The Ada traditional area is endowed with natural attractions which range from beautiful palm-lined beaches, estuary islands, marine turtles, the meeting point of the Volta River and the Atlantic Ocean, water sports from speed boats to sailing, canoeing, surfing and many more.
All these are potential tourism resources which can be developed through public and private sector partnerships. He used the opportunity to encourage the traditional authorities, and the district assembly to pay attention to the development of the tourism potentials within the area.
The Ada District Assembly has therefore been urged to take the lead by considering aggressive tourism promotion as a priority in its development agenda. Any activity they embarked on, must be carried out within the framework of Public-Private Sector Partnership, with the active involvement of all stakeholders.
By so doing, tourism will contribute to poverty alleviation, through the creation of livelihood opportunities, especially for the unemployed, the youth and women. Mr Okraku Mantey commended Nananom and the citizens of the area for their special efforts in helping to develop the area and encouraged them to continue with their good work.
Welcoming participants to Ada, the District Chief Executive, Ms Sarah Dugbakie Pobee said the commemoration and the theme, enabled the planting of approximately a thousand mango seedlings in the town. This according to her, will help to enrich the environment with more greenery and has enabled them to join in the campaign against climate change.
During the launch, many dignitaries were present including: the Paramount Chief of Ada Traditional Area, Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, Board Chair of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Seth Adjei-Baah, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr John Yao Agbeko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, and some others.
As a preface to the celebration, a tree-planting exercise was embraced on Tuesday 26th September 2023 at Wasakuse, a suburb in Ada to grow mangrove trees and a Regatta at Ada Foah.