Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, says Government is working towards facelifting parts of the Aburi Botanical Gardens at Aburi and the Yaa Asantewaa Mausoleum in Ejisu Besease.
The upgrade is to improve the quality of the country’s tourism assets and reposition the destinations for growth.
He said “the contracts for these works have been awarded and the projects are expected to be completed by end of March 2022. The main components of Phase I of the upgrade in Aburi include works to enhance the entry and exit gates, visitor receptive facilities, washrooms, a car park, playgrounds and an event centre.”
Presenting the 2022 Budget in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Ofori-Atta, said preparatory works, including design and procurement processes for the construction of a heritage village were underway, and that stakeholder and community engagement had commenced towards the planned transformation of the Pikworo Heritage and Slave Market, the Salaga Slave Market, and four targeted beaches.
He said based on the medium-term goals set out in the National Tourism Plan, accelerated development of tourism had been prioritised under the tha Ghana CARES programme.
“This is to ensure investment and development of infrastructure, marketing, and supply-chain links, enhanced capacity of key tourism institutions, and improved coordination with the private sector for job creation and economic expansion.”
Mr Ofori Atta said the interventions were expected to increase tourist arrivals in 2021 by 50 percent over the 2020 outcome; and by 2023 increase jobs in the tourism, arts and culture sector by five percent and increase the sector’s contribution to GDP by two percent over the 2019 figure.
He said under the Ghana CARES this year, targeted road shows in key source markets led to increases in the sector, saying, “By the end of September 2021, inbound arrivals of 411,164 placed the sector on course to achieve its end-year target of 600,000.”
The road shows, he said, had led to some strategic partnerships, including the historic naming of a street after Ghana in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) by the Borough of Brooklyn in New York City and the number of visitors from the sub-region also grew by 13 percent against a target of 10 percent through enhanced marketing strategies.
The Finance Minister, said stakeholder engagements and preparatory works for the sector skills revitalisation programme was also ongoing, saying, the target was to train and certify 10,000 persons by 2023 on specific tourism and hospitality skills, including product knowledge, customer service, digital marketing, and business development.
“So far, over 500 people, including drivers of car rental companies and taxis have undergone training in product knowledge improvement.”
He said a data centre at the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), to enhance industry data collection for real-time data was also in place, and that the National Tourism Destination Single Window platform to automate the country’s tourism operations and enhance service delivery had been completed, with over 300 operators placed on the platform so far.