GHANA TOURISM MINISTER: “DOMESTIC TOURISM IS MY PRIORITY!”

Posted on March 23, 2011

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TV Africa happened to be on this morning….some guy was commenting on the fact that 85% of sachet water sold here in Ghana does not meet standards….HAPPY BELATED WATER DAY…anyways it was the banner headlines streaming across the bottom of the screen that caught my eye…

From the New Crusading Guide-Anas Aremeyaw’s paper: “A culture of silence” exists between the private sector and government. Tried to get the details on the headline, but they were not on GHANA WEB..

But MAN does that paper ever have that right!

The tourism sector, where there has been so much private investment, is a case in point.There are 20 plus associations represented by the umbrella organization of GHATOF ( Ghana Tourism Federation). The federation is there, but there is perennial silence. Sometimes I wonder if this organization, set up by a former Tourism Minister in a past administration, only has the purpose of deflecting issues, smothering dialogue and compromising the voice of the potentially powerful Ghana Hotels Association….

Never…never does one read any official statement, comment or reaction to government vision or direction or lack thereof….

So…madinghana-always trying to live up to his name-leaps in…

ugh….yes, the<a href="http://iamaghanaian.com/index.php?do=/news/domestic-tourism-is-my-priority-8211-tourism-minister/“> statement was made at the press conference launching the annual Kwahu Paragliding Festival, but really….is that the message Ghana should be hearing for a sector that has so much potential as an earner of foreign exchange to create real growth????

While the rest of the world is out there actively luring tourists to their countries, here we are trying “to catch kids young”, thinking about national unity, promoting chieftancy and AIDS awareness.

When will government realize that tourism is all about dollars, pounds, euros and, of course, yen, not pushing Ghana pesewas from one region to another?. Simply put, the private sector, the engine of growth, invested big dollars, pounds, and euros and we expect that kind of concrete support…not platitudes….

Yes, the hospitality industry needs leadership and commitment starting at the top. The position of Minister of Tourism appears to have become a patronage appointment. In the last two years, it would appear that the office of the Minister of Tourism has been fitted with a revolving door. There have three, yes three, Ministers of Tourism!

Well, today, March 23, I am told on good authority that the new Minister of Tourism is actually going to visit Ashanti, something her two predecessors failed to do! So far…nothing has been heard….maybe her itinerary has been changed. I might add that two hoteliers from the Western Region had the opportunity to sit down with the minister when she visited the Western Region for discussions mostly focusing on the suggestion to scrap short term tourist visas….

What also might be the focus of discussion is Ghana’s poor rating on <a href="http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2011/03/14/ghana-makes-500m-from-tourism-in-2010-but-sector-ranks-low-in-the-world/“>World Economic Forum ratings. Ghana is NOT doing well no matter what the press reports today the minister saying.

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