Government, with the support of the World Bank will establish an ultra-modern tourism school, by close of next year, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, has disclosed.
He said the school would equip industry players with the requisite skills to meet the demands of the industry.
“Next year we would cut the sod for construction to begin immediately, and we want to make it one of the best, to train people across the sub region,” he added.
Dr Awal made this know during the inaugural Public Private Partnership Forum (PPPF) for industry players and inauguration of the steering committee for the forum, in Accra.
The forum, on the theme: “Shaping the future of tourism in Ghana through collaboration and partnership,” is expected to be a quarterly engagement of industry players.
Dr Awal said tourism was a government led industry driven by the private sector, hence the need to have such fora to engage the private sector often to collaborate and make the industry better than it was.
He said government had also decided to improve some attraction sites and by the end of next year, eight iconic tourist sites would be completed in addition to the refurbishment of five Centre for National Cultures.
He said government would continue to do its best in relation to provision of infrastructure, incentives and environment to grow the industry and urged the private sector to take advantage of it, and contribute to the development of the sector.
The sector Minister urged stakeholders to support government and the Ministry, saying, “We want result driven entrepreneurship. Help us make Ghana the most preferred brand in Africa and tourism would be at the centre stage providing jobs and contributing to GDP.”
He encouraged all to make it a point to vaccinate because tourism strives on arrivals and travels, hence for the sector to bounce back as expected, all must be encouraged to vaccinate in other to be able to move from one destination to the other.
Madam Bella Ahu, President, Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), said tourism was largely dependent on the private sector and as such much attention must be paid to the sector.
She noted that COVID-19 affected the industry badly, and in order to prevent such impact on the sector, a tourism relief fund, backed by legislation, must be set up from the one per cent tourism levy to help government and for industry players to access in dire times.
Madam Ahu said the Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) must be upgraded to be competitive in terms of equipment and gadgets to provide skills training to industry players. A replica of that must also be provided in all regions.
She noted that there was a gap between industry and academia and as such industry players must be involved in curricular construction for graduates to fit into industry.
The GHATOF president also advised that, the gap between the implementing body and industry must be closed, ensuring that industry players were ably represented on the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) board.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said the forum was to create the platform for engagement to discuss issues of mutual benefit to both public and private industry players, and create modules for tourism growth.
The Minister later inaugurated an eight member steering committee including members from both the private and public sector as well as academia.
Members of the committee include Madam Josephine Ohene Osei, Dr Geoffery Deladem Tamakloe, Mr. Kwesi Eyison, Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike, Mr Seth Ocran, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Mr Isaac Asiam, Mr Kwadwo Odame Antwi, Prof Kweku Boakye, and Naa Ashiorkor Otoo.