Professor Andrew Holden, a tourism expert, has stressed the need for government to give priority to the development of tourism to help reduce poverty in Ghana and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He said based on studies conducted in the tourism industry in Ghana, the lack of tourism data collection and analyses had created an information gap, which did not allow people to appreciate the role of tourism in national and local development.
Prof. Holden made the call, when addressing the closing session of a day’s seminar for personnel of the Ministry of Tourism, Ghana Tourist Board, Ghana Tourist Development Company Limited and the Ghana Tourism Federation in Accra, on Friday.
It was under the theme “The Relevance of Tourism Research”.
He said due to lack of information, development partners and policy makers had restricted their activities to only conventional statistics, such as tourism arrivals and receipts and contribution to Gross Domestic Products.
This, he said, does not give a true reflection of the industry’s overall significance in the economy and strong justification for tourism policy formulation and investment in the industry.
Prof. Holden said all attempts being made to promote Ghana as a competitive destination and to attract more tourists as well as local and foreign direct investments, largely depended on the availability and accessibility of data and dissemination of information required by stakeholders.
He stressed the need for partnership among stakeholders to develop a data base, which could be easily accessible to people who needed them.
Dr Joel Sonne, Director of Projects at the Ministry of Tourism said the seminar was to introduce the participants to variety of contemporary research techniques to improve their capacity and skills on the collection and analysing of tourism data.