Mrs. Sabah Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Tourism, on Wednesday called on Ghanaians to appreciate the importance of domestic tourism as a way of improving international tourism in Ghana.
“Domestic tourism is the bedrock for international tourism since the success of international tourism promotion in any country depends to a large extent on the development and promotion of domestic tourism,” she said.
The Minister was inaugurating 25 Tourism Clubs drawn from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
Mrs. Okaikoi stated that the formation of the clubs was coming at an opportune time since it was in line with the Ministry’s domestic tourism promotion programme under the slogan, “Ghana; Time to Explore.”
She described the initiative as a laudable one which would expose the youth to diverse historical, cultural and natural attractions nationwide and commended head teachers, teachers and heads of departments for embracing the initiative.
Mrs. Okaikoi noted that domestic tourism helped to bridge the regional disparities as the economies of deprived districts, where tourist attractions were located, were boosted during visits to the sites and also helped Ghanaians to learn more about their country to foster social harmony and national unity.
She said with the nation’s immense historical, cultural and natural endowments coupled with the transport infrastructure built over the years, domestic tourism could be encouraged to help create employment and excitement among the youth.
Mrs. Okaikoi emphasised that the clubs were a way of “catching them young” and inculcating in them a culture of travel at the early stages of their lives, adding that such projects were the “future of our domestic tourism”.
The Minister pledged her ministry’s commitment to ensure that the clubs got the necessary support for their programmes and activities and urged members to participate actively by visiting as many tourist sites as possible while they were in school.
Mr. Edem Kpodo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Tourist Board, who chaired the occasion, called on the youth to minimise noise pollution, which was gradually impacting negatively on international tourism.