The President of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA), Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, has urged the government to make security and basic infrastructure such as good road networks, a priority in a bid to attract more tourists into the country, this year.
With this year christened the ‘Year of Return’, to mark 400 years of slave trade, he said the hospitality industry was expected to receive a boost, hence the need for the government to make adequate preparations to welcome the tourists bound for the country.
“Tourism is multi-faceted. There are issues of visa on arrival, among other things. However, the key things we must consider are safety and security, sanitation, health, and bad roads,” he told GRAPHIC BUSINESS on January 25, 2019.
He admonished the appropriate ministries to fix the loopholes in the sectors to beef up tourism, one of the major contributors to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr stated that the association (as tourism stakeholders) was invited to a series of meetings and the launch of the Year of Return in January and has since initiated steps to map up strategies to ensure that operations were run smoothly to accommodate and ensure a good stay for tourists.
He added that the association was looking forward to holding training, education and awareness creation sessions for members in anticipation of the possible influx of tourists’ visits this year.
“We are strategising to provide basic training sessions as well as education and awareness creation,” he said.
He also reiterated the Ghana Tourism Authority’s pledge to assist the association with information and marketing support to help boost the hospitality industry, especially during the period of the Year of Return.
“The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) promised to provide some information support and marketing support,” Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr said.
Mr Ackah-Nyamike bemoaned the effects of the recent security threats that have hit the country on tourism, citing the murder of investigative journalist, Ahmed Hussein Suale, and a number of kidnapped cases in Takoradi.
He stated that those threats caused panic and fear and might deter tourists.
He, therefore, entreated security agencies to treat the teeming security canker with utmost urgency.
He gave an assurance that the association would make sure that quality standards were strictly adhered to in order to provide a congenial environment for tourists.
Year of Return
President Akufo Addo declared 2019 as the year for all people of African descent living in the Diaspora to return to Ghana.
Dubbed “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”, the declaration was made at a ceremony at the United States National Press Club in Washington DC.
This year marks 400 years since the arrival of the first slave ship from Africa into America during the Trans Atlantic slave trade era in 1619.
A tall list of activities have been lined up to observe the Year of Return.
They include African Culture and Wellness festival, Black History Month, Back2Africa festival, the Jamaica-Ghana festival (JaGhafest) and Heritage Paragliding festival, among others
The historic milestone will see tourists from all parts of the world troop to tourist sites for sight-seeing.
Already, the Cable News Network (CNN) has ranked the Cape Coast Castle fourth on a list of tourist sites across the world worth visiting this year.