Mrs Sabah Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Tourism, has called on traditional leaders and stakeholders in the sector to guard against sex tourism likely to crop up in the Western Region as a result of the oil find.
She said the oil find in the Region would open up the area for visitors and tourists indicating that some would come for business, visit and even promotion of sex tourism.
The Minister said this at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of tourism receptive facility in Axim on Friday in the Western Region.
“It is necessary that we don’t lose sight of the fact that it is not all who will come to do genuine business,” she said.
Mrs Okaikoi said although there were already existing laws against sex tourism, the passage of the Tourism Bill would give stiffer punishments to offenders of the act.
She further urged the public especially hoteliers to watch out for such miscreants and report them to the appropriate authorities.
Mrs Okaikoi asked all traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the Region to ensure that such a vice was not promoted.
On the receptive facility, the Minister said, the facility would open a new chapter in the tourism development in the Nzema East Municipality and its environs.
“Indeed, we remember with nostalgia, the major role played by Paa Grant and others during the struggle for Ghana’s independence, yet these great heroes and heroines have featured prominently in our tourism promotional activities,” she said.
She stated that the construction of the facility would include a museum and an information centre that would provide relevant information to serve as an avenue to tell the stories of past heroes and other historical sites in the Region.
The Tourism Minister said the project would further create direct jobs for the youth in the area, which was in line with Government’s better Ghana agenda.
She said, “The management of this facility is very crucial if we are to derive the anticipated benefits and promote sustainability of tourism development in the Western Region”.
Mrs Okaikoi said the tourism industry had demonstrated its potential as a viable industry, which could impact significantly on poverty reduction in local communities that abounded in tourist attractions, facilities and services.
The Minister said the tourism sector had the potential to facilitate job creation and improve standard of living in areas where community based tourism initiatives were implemented.
“I urge the Municipal Assembly and the Traditional Council to take an active interest in the development of tourism in the Municipality.”
Awulae Attibrukusu III, the Paramount Chief of Lower Axim Traditional Area, commended the Ministry for choosing the Municipality as one of the three beneficiaries of the tourist facility.
He pledged the commitment of the Lower Axim Traditional council to make lands available to the Ministry for any developmental project in the area.
Reverend James Ackaah Cobbinah, the Municipal Chief Executive of the Nzema East Municipality, also commended the Ministry for the idea of promoting domestic tourism in the area.
He said the decentralization of data on tourism was appropriate and the construction of the receptive facility centre would aid in the collection of tourism data.