Right interventions said to be required to make tourism number one contributor to Ghana GDP
Professor Gabriel Eshun, the Technical Advisor, Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP) at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has identified tourism as having the potential to become Ghana’s number one contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said: ”Ghana has what it takes for tourism to become the number one contributor to our GDP but would be a mirage unless the right approach and interventions are put in place because visions without works are a form of hallucination.”
Prof. Eshun observed the country had been suffering from the Guggisberg Structure, having been over-reliant on the production and export of raw cocoa, gold, rubber and oil palm for a long time.
But, “must we continue this path where we are always the raw producers” he quizzed, saying the country must churn a new path aimed at economic diversification.
Prof. Eshun made the point in a media interview during a visit by a team from the GTDP to the Kintampo Waterfalls and canopy walkway to ascertain the on-going works to upgrade the facility.
A new washroom facility had been constructed, while work was about to begin on a pavement block at the facility under the GTDP.
The GTDP has been under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture since 2018 and seeks to upgrade existing tourist sites to attract more tourists locally and internationally.
The idea is to strengthen the Tourism, Arts and Culture landscape to compete favourably with all the other generating income sectors of the economy.
The project is being funded from a $40 million grant obtained by the government of Ghana from the International Development Agency through the World Bank to help in structuring the internal tourism development of the country.
”We have a comparative advantage when it comes to tourism offerings, which is the Arts, Culture and Hospitality. Ghana has 75 per cent of all the slave edifices, some say 29 out of the 40 slave edifices are here, Gori island in Senegal have slave edifices, but in Ghana, Cape coast and Elmina castle stands way taller than the others”, Prof. Eshun stated.
He said Ghana was regarded as the number one tourism destination country in the West African sub-region, saying it happened before COVID-19 and building upon the ”Year of Return”, ”Beyond the Return”, and now ”December in Ghana”, implying it could be realised there was sustainability and focus in making sure that the momentum gained in 2019 had not slowed down.
Prof. Eshun said the indirect jobs that could be created through tourism were higher, and if the country was seeking job creation, tourism should be the stopgap to seek for.
Mr Godfred Allotey, the Environmental Safeguard Consultant on the GTDP said they were to ensure work was done without the environment being harmed, saying social issues too were considered, thus providing disability-friendly access, while the pavement areas where trees would be cut were avoided.
On the Kintampo waterfalls project, he said the pavement work would start from the entrance, the reception area through to the key areas of the waterfalls, so that people could access the facility easily.
Mr. Allotey noted when it rained the trails become muddy, less accessible to tourists, hence with such additions it would help boost the tourism numbers in the country.