The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku on Friday launched the 2018 edition of the Ghana Carnival and Homogenous (Homofest) in Accra.
The two events are being organised by the Ministry of Tourism, and its implementing agencies in partnership with key stakeholders, including the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Private Sector Operators in the tourism and creative arts industry, the media and corporate bodies.
She said the Ministry has taken up these two events to use as a vehicle to accelerate the diversification of cultural tourism products since the country has rich cultural resources amongst all ethnic groups.
She said the Ghana Carnival which is on the theme, “Using Arts and Culture to Promote Our Economy”, would provide the platform to celebrate the very best of Ghanaian culture and music.
Companies would also have the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the over 4,000 people expected to walk from Manste Agbona at James Town to the Black Star Square from June 30th to July 2.
The sector Minister said the Homofest 2018, also on the theme, “Celebrating Our Culture, Heritage and Diversity”, will take place at the Black Star Square on October 6.
Mrs Afeku said both the Carnival and Homofest were events which stimulate economic growth, created employment opportunities and transformed lives of people, adding that data collected and analysed from previous events showed that the Ministry and its partners were achieving the objective of the events.
Both festivals, she said, were aimed at creating enabling environment for domestic tourism through the promotion of arts and culture, encouraging business development through production, and sale of goods and services such as food, handicrafts, textiles and curios.
“The organisation of the carnival as an event on the annual calendar started in 2013. Having organised it successfully over the years, we have added value and made it a visible and viable event,” she said.
She said the Homofest was also another major event which had been massively embraced by the Chiefs and People of Ga-Dangbe as a special occasion on the festival calendar in the Greater Accra Region.
She said it was celebrated, after all the communities and towns have organised their individual festivals, between July and September, adding that this year‘s celebration would take place in Accra in October in partnership with Regional House of Chiefs, Metropolitan and District Assemblies, Corporate bodies and the private Sector Practitioners.
She commended the planning committee for the good work done so far, adding that more work would continue to be done after the launch to promote active participation of both international and domestic tourists, corporate bodies and industry practitioners to ensure that more benefits were realised.
Mr Ahmed Adjei Sowah, AMA Chief Executive Officer, commended the Ministry for putting together the programmes and recognising the location of Accra as the prime area to host these events.
He described the two events as “very meaningful, very strategic” and whatever happened in Accra would certainly be heard in every corner of the world.
He said “culture defines who we are, whether we want to be original or to copy other people’s culture, but an attempt to copy someone else’s culture comes with its own challenges”.
Mr Sowah noted that as a country we recognised the fact that the world was changing and there were better things that we could also emulate elsewhere, but the culture of a people defined who they were, the language they spoke, and the way they appeared.
He pledged the AMA’s support and as a key strategic partner to these programmes to make sure that the benefits that it accrued not only in terms of revenue but in terms of promoting who we were clearly defined to the whole world, that this was a true Ghanaian culture that would help us also to be respected in the world.