Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has indicated that Ghana is currently collaborating with other West African countries to facilitate movement within the African region as part of the continental initiative to facilitate visa-free movement within several regions in Africa.
To that effect, he says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana is working around the clock to introduce an E-visa for travel to Ghana next year.
Dr Bawumia, who was addressing participants at the World Tourism Forum-Africa summit held in Accra yesterday, seized the opportunity to encourage heads of West African countries to open up their air spaces and reduce taxes on inter-country flights within Africa to boost tourism within their own borders.
Ghana’s tourism sector, he mentioned, had seen steady growth over the years, and was therefore happy it has been selected among a host of other qualified countries to host the summit.
He noted that the summit was of great importance to Ghana as it aligns with the country’s goal of positioning itself as a major tourism hub in the continent.
“Our commitment is to meet our tourism industry goals, and we are working very hard to ensure that we achieve these goals within the next few years.
“Our natural environment and security of our country, as well as a stable political climate makes this achievement attainable,” he said.
He announced that, “Ghana is focused on building and upgrading existing infrastructures to support the tourism industry.
“One major project government is undertaking is the expansion and revamping of our international airport to make it the gateway into West Africa and the regional aviation hub.”
Dr Bawumia further disclosed that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Arts, with its stakeholders, is spearheading a marine drive investment project that will develop an entire stretch of 241 acres of beach front land into an excellent beach front tourism enclave to meet the needs of businesses and leisure tourists, as well as make Ghana the preferred tourism destination in Africa.
When completed, he said, the marine drive project will host over 70 world-class hotels, amusement and film parks, restaurants, shopping mall, cultural villages, among others.
Under the auspices of the ministry, the Vice-President outlined that the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is currently spearheading a destination single window project targeted at promoting excellence in the tourism industry by raising the standard of all agencies and improving their services.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Catherine Afeku urged African governments to use tourism for transformation and inclusive growth.
She was confident that the conversation at the summit will harness huge opportunities in the film, arts, fashion, food and music industry to create the desired growth and prosperity through jobs for the Ghanaian citizenry.
In attendance were Mr Balut Bargci, president of the Executive Board, World Tourism Forum; Mr Yoofi Grant, CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; Mr Akwasi Agyeman, CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority; and Mr Kwadwo Antwi, CEO, Ghana Tourism Development Company.
Topics discussed included Destination Marketing in Africa, Heading to the Limitless Era, E- Tourism, Tourism Investment in Africa and Regional Differences in Hotel Marketing and Management.
The World Tourism Forum is a global event held in different parts of the world to see experts, enthusiasts, key players and stakeholders in the tourism industry to promote investment and fill the gap in international tourism.
In the past, it has been held in Turkey (global meeting), Dubai and Russia, and Ghana is the first African country to host the event this year.