A new 15-year National Tourism Development Plan aimed at properly positioning tourism in Ghana and help achieve the core objectives of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), had been designed.
The plan, which takes effect from 2013 to 2027, was designed by a team of local and international consultants to replace the old 15-year national plan that guided tourism development and promotion in Ghana. The old plane elapsed three years ago.
Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Tourism, explained that the workshop was to validate the progress report and recommendation by the team which designed the Plan after a two-month review of Ghana’s tourism sector.
The team involving officials from United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Ghana Tourists Authority undertook the review.
Ms Dansua said the new plan focused on growth in key indicators including tourist arrivals, tourism receipts, contribution to GDP and employment as formerly outlined under the expired plan.
She said despite significant success like the passage of new Tourism Law, Act 817 and transformation of the Ghana Tourist Board into an Authority under the old plan, there were myriad of challenges that continued to negatively impact the sector.
Challenges like competition from other sectors such as oil and gas, poor quality services, poor marketing and promotion, inadequate skilled and qualified workforce, high rates and airfares, stringent visa regime, poor sanitation and heavy traffic necessitated the need to review the plan and develop concrete strategies, which would position the tourism sector at the competitive global arena.
She told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that steps would be taken to implement the recommendations of the new Plan, which called for branding of Ghana’s tourism sector, consolidation of tourism sites, reducing barriers, expansion in underdeveloped tourism areas and capacity building of staff of the Ministry.
The Minister said the plan would also be submitted to Cabinet and Parliament for their approvals.
Dr Harsh Varma, Director, Technical Cooperation and Services (UNWTO) said Ghana had everything to become an ideal tourism destination globally so there was the need to review, adopt and implement the tourism master plan to expand the sector’s fortunes.
He stressed on the need for public-private cooperation to ensure that tourism in Ghana was developed to match international standards.
Mr Lionel Becherel, Leader of the team that designed the plan also stressed the need for Ghana to set up a unit to coordinate the implementation of the master plan after it had been adopted.