A former Minster of Chieftaincy and Culture and one-time Ashanti Regional Minister Hon S. K. Boafo has called for adequate support for the tourism sector to ensure the nation receives the full benefits of tourism. Speaking at the opening of the Tourism Booster seminar in Kumasi, he noted, “Currently Tourism is the fourth highest foreign exchange earner for the country after Gold, Cocoa, Oil and Foreign Remittances. There is little doubt that considering the revenue generated by the tourism sector, if a little more attention in terms of resource allocation, training and policy development is devoted to the sector, the nation will reap immense benefits.” Hon Boafo therefore described the tourism booster programme as a welcome development in training the manpower of the sector to ensure that players in the sector are abreast with best practices and trends from around the world.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah espoused the rich cultural heritage of the region which he said should be packaged appropriately to serve as a major attraction. He pledged to work with all stakeholders to restore the renowned image of the Garden City indicating that in that the economic generation capacity of the indigenes around tourist sites would improve thereby enhancing their lives in the process.
The Counsellor at the Public Affairs Department of the United States of America Embassy Daniel Fennell said the support from the embassy is based on the principle of supporting the socio economic development of Ghana which in turn impacts on the growth and development of democratic institutions in the country. He said that is why the Public Affairs Department is committed to the development of the tourism industry in Ghana to improve the standard of service delivery across the sector through capacity building programmes like the Tourism Booster seminar in Kumasi, Elmina and Accra.
On his part, the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon Dr. Yarkor Iddi welcomed the idea of a Tourism Booster seminar in three strategically located cities to provide insights and cutting edge knowledge to enrich the service delivery of players in the tourism sector. Dr. Iddi indicated that the government would take steps to acquire land for the construction of a sizeable performance hall in Kumasi to service the creative arts.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Tourism Booster, the C.E.O of the Ghana Tourism Authority Akwasi Agyeman described the seminars as a welcome intervention to improve the performance of the sector. He indicated that the event addresses key issues such as capacity building and networking opportunities for practitioners.
The Tourism Booster seminar was organized by the Musicians Union of Ghana and Nasoa Services in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ghana Tourism Federation with sponsorship from the Public Affairs Department of the United States Embassy. The resource persons for the seminars were two speaker specialists from the U.S, Anna Barerra and Yuri Horowitz. They were joined by Akunu Dake, C.E.O of the Heritage Development and Prof Kwakye Boakye, head of the Tourism Department of the University of Cape Coast and Ashakie Wilson-Tei of Group Nduom.
The Tourism Booster seminars took place in Kumasi at the Golden Tulip Hotel on Monday April 24, at the Coconut Groove Hotel, Elmina on Wednesday April 26 and at the African Regent Hotel in Accra on Friday April 28. Participants at the seminars included hospitality facility managers, government tourism officials, tourism academicians, tour operators and guides, media practitioners and musicians.