Assemblies told to prioritise local tourism to stimulate growth

Ghana’s first canopy walkway at Kakum.

Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been urged to efficiently identify and harness the tourism resources in their localities to bring sustainable development to their Areas.

Dr Kwaku Boakye, a Lecture at the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) who made the call also tasked them to prioritise the development of abandoned and untapped tourist sites to boost the local economy and help create wealth.

He was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of a forum organised by Cities Alliance, an International NGO on “improving sanitation, waste management and tourism” in Cape Coast on Thursday.

They should not be content with the limited fees, rate and licenses but take bold steps to make sound policy framework that will make tourism a key component of their development agenda.

He advocated a strong vibrant policy framework to revive the sector as mandated by the Tourism Act 817 (2011) which provided for the development, management, marketing and regulation of sustainable tourism and tourism related services and for connected services.

Dr Boakye said assemblies needed to mobilise revenue to implement their development agenda and it was important that they found innovative ways to fully exploit the endowed resources in their jurisdictions to aid development.

The Assemblies must endeavour to invest in social infrastructure and amenities at the existing tourist sites to encourage guests to stay in host communities.

According to him, the lack of standardised accommodation and excellent customer care compelled tourists to live outside host communities, which negatively affected the local economy of such communities and the Assemblies.

They must make conscious efforts to develop and re-brand tourism and services with improved marketing techniques, roadmaps and documentation to aid visitors.

In addition to that, they must engage the services of experts, equip them and regularly build the capacity of stakeholders to rain in their unalloyed support for sustainable development in their communities.

He challenged stakeholders in the tourism industry especially, traditional authorities to do more to help increase the contribution of the sector to national development.

Source: GNA

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