Mr George Nkrumah Ansere, Western Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has implored the media to consider tourism and its related business as a priority in their role as a public educator.
He noted that not much attention had been given to tourism, especially domestic tourism, by the media.
Mr Ansere, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the media could promote domestic tourism through its airwaves and social media handles.
He urged the media to provide a platform for inclusive dialogue to identify solutions and realign tourism for the future to realize its potential as a vehicle for recovery and transformation.
He added that the media should amplify the message of tourism as an inspirational and transformational force in fulfilling its potential and advocate in mobilizing political would and cooperation to ensure that tourism becomes a central part of policymaking.
Illustrating the historic relevance of the sector, he said tourism was now on the agenda of governments and of international organizations in every global region.
Mr Ansere mentioned that as the sector’s recovery got underway after the COVID-19 pandemic, the media who were partners in development ought to highlight the opportunity to build an unprecedented political and public recognition for the sector.
“This means putting people and the planet first and bringing everyone from governments and businesses to local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector,” he stated.
He contended that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical need to transform the tourism industry since global tourism was recovering slowly.
According to him, international tourists’ arrivals in the Western Region at the start of the year 2022 were double of what was recorded in 2021 and went on to state that in some regions, arrivals were already at, or even above, pre pandemic levels.
Mr Ansere noted that the lifting of the remaining travel restrictions, alongside rising consumer confidence, would be important drivers for the sector’s recovery, bringing hope and opportunity to millions of people around the world.
Commenting on the World Tourism Day celebration, Mr.Ansere said the celebration was targeted to inspire the debate around rethinking tourism for development, including through education and jobs, and tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably.
In the Western Region, the celebration brought together stakeholders from every part of tourism’s uniquely broad value chain – from political and private sector leaders to community representatives, the youth and indigenous ambassadors to investigate discussions bothering on “where is tourism going, where do we want to go and how do we get there?”
Mr Ansere underscored the need for a multi-stakeholder panel discussions on the theme as a key element of recovery as well as discussions on “the tourism we want.”
Such discussions, he said, should be led by local representatives from across the Western Region aimed at promoting domestic tourism.