Mrs. Zita Sabah Okaikoi, Minister of Tourism, on Thursday paid a familiarisation tour of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) and the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC) Limited, where she shared her vision for the tourism sector.
She was accompanied by Mr. Kwabena Acheampong, Deputy Minister of Tourism and some directors of the Ministry.
Addressing the staff of GTB, Mrs. Okaikoi pledged to vigorously pursue domestic tourism in Ghana through the development of new and existing tourism sites to enhance patronage.
She said Ghana had numerous virgin tourism attractions that needed to be harnessed and developed to whip up interest in the local communities, however there was the need for the existing sites to be managed properly and resourced to generate income for national development.
Mrs. Okaikoi said the Ministry intended to establish and institute a rotational visit programme where various attraction sites would be selected every month for activities to boost their patronage.
She noted that tourism though had great potentials to become the leading foreign exchange earner for Ghana and a major source of income generation and job creation.
Mrs. Okaikoi expressed the need for the hospitality industry to improve on their infrastructure and services to attract tourists.
“Most of the quality hospitality facilities charge very high rates, yet their services do not correspond to the services they render,” she noted.
Mrs. Okaikoi pledged to work in collaboration with all stakeholders in the tourism industry to repackage Ghana’s tourism brochure and possibly introduce an electronic booklet on the nation’s rich cultural heritage to the international community.
She commended the GTB for the success achieved so far with the institution of the National Chocolate Day on February 14, Valentine’s Day, saying the impact was greatly felt during this year’s celebrations, as people replaced previous promiscuous activities with quiet celebrations with cocoa products especially with Ghanaian chocolates.
Mrs. Okaikoi urged the GTDC to ensure that souvenir shops dealing with made in Ghana artefacts and goods are opened at the arrival and departure halls of the Kotoka International Airport as well as other entry points in the country to attract patronage.
Mrs. Emelia Brew Butler, Managing Director of GTDC and Mr. Julius Debrah, Executive Director of GTB, pledged their support to help improve performance in the industry.