Mr Ben Anane- Nsiah, Director of Project Development and Investment at Ghana Tourism Authority, has urged Ghanaians to champion environmental cleanliness to ensure tourism thrives in the country.
He said an unclean environment would be a threat to the development of tourism and called on everyone to join the crusade for a clean environment.
Mr Anane- Nsiah made the observation at the launch of the 2022 Youth in Tourism Festival, (YOTOFEST) on Friday, in Winneba.
The Festival, being organized by the Tourism Society of Ghana (TOSOGHA), in partnership with the University of Education, Winneba, is scheduled for June 20 to 26, 2022.
It will be on the theme: “The youth, tourism and sanitation.”
He said, “Ghana is not the only destination for a potential tourist but in terms of public safety and political stability we are there, however with regard to sanitation, we need to improve in that area because beautification goes hand in hand with tourism.”
“Tourism cannot grow and develop effectively if the environment is compromised,” he added.
Mr Anane-Nsiah said the youth needed to contribute heavily to the development of domestic tourism because it was important in the sustainability of the industry.
He said the promotion of domestic tourism was important and apart from allowing the youth to have fun, the foundation was being laid for them to develop their interest in that area.
“We want the interest in tourism to be such that when you grow and have families, tourism will become part of the things you do or an established lifestyle and then all the economic advantage will be harnessed,” he added.
But this, he noted, would not happen if the environment was compromised.
“All the beauty we see now and desire cannot be appreciated if the environment is compromised by illegal mining or littering.”
Mr George Nana Kankam, Ag. Director, Tourism Directorate, Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, said there was the need to establish relations between academia and policy-makers.
He said once that was done it would inform policy decisions, which would enable enough collaboration and partnership to put Ghana where it ought to be.
He said the theme for the celebration was timely and crucial as the whole world was currently discussing issues of climate change.
“The impact of sanitation on tourism in the country is massive especially in Accra and Kumasi, and I, therefore, pledge the Ministry’s support to TOSOGHA in hosting a successful festival and other programmes ahead,” he said.
Mr Benard B. B. Bengab, Dean of Student Affairs, UEW, said for tourism to succeed, issues of sanitation must be prioritized.
“We are not seeing the effect of what we are doing to the environment by littering indiscriminately. We have polluted the environment so much so that it is difficult to predict the future,” he said.
He said as a University they were ready to partner with the organisations to begin the nurturing of the young people towards a more sustainable environment.
Mr Joseph Amarh Amartey, Executive Director TOSOGHA, said the festival, the third since its inception, would be the first for the Central Region and a flagship programme at the regional level.
“YOTOFEST 2022 is aimed at implementing a comprehensive analysis of the problems and prospects to find ways to develop youth tourism in the country and create a new model for work in this area, as well as active participation in the sustainable development of youth tourism in Ghana,” he said.
Some activities lined up for the festival include youth engagements, tourism business investor pitch, business incubation, youth and community durbar, the big tree fun fair and domestic tours, awards and gala dinner night, clean up exercise and YOTOFEST street art carnival.