Ghana is poised to mark this year’s World Tourism Day on September 27, 2020 with the country lining up a number of activities to observe the international event.
This year, the World Tourism Day, will as usual be celebrated globally under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Ghana’s celebration would be held at Bogoso and Takoradi in the Western Region.
The theme for this year is, “Tourism and Rural Development” touches on rural communities, the role and potential for tourism development.
Ghana’s tourism made great strides in the year 2019, by virtue of the Year of Return Campaign, however the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the industry.
Its harsh effects on the tourism industry include a delay in the launch and roll out of the Beyond the Return activities, a general downturn in the sector’s performance, massive and unanticipated loss of revenue and jobs.
As such, some major short and long-term measures put in place by government for the robust recovery and growth of the tourism industry include: A US$4 million grant facility for the development and diversification of tourism sites across the country especially rural communities, a US$5 million grant facility to support tourism and hospitality sector small and medium enterprises.
A GHc3 billion facility with a moratorium on repayment and a reduced interest rate for the big players in specific industries including the hospitality sector.
Further interventions include government’s GHc600 million COVID-19 stimulus package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which tourism enterprises are eligible to apply, and an allocation of GHc50 million to the Creative Arts and the Media.
Indeed the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority have re-energized the Authority’s See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana campaign for promoting domestic tourism and highlighting Ghana’s unique selling proposition in the industry.
Other initiatives for tourism investment promotion include the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative; a follow-up to the successful Year of Return campaign, which seeks to promote and consolidate relations between the African diaspora, Ghana’s WTTC Safe Travel Certificate acquisition, to assure international tourists seeking to travel to Ghana of their safety.
Establishment of a National Heritage Committee in collaboration with UNESCO to develop strategies, policies and programmes on heritage conservation, preservation, presentation and promotion to foster inter-cultural dialogue and promotion of Tourism for sustainable development is also an initiative being pursued.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe