Mr Baba Jamal, Deputy Minister for Tourism has noted that the poor performance of countries in the sub- region in their tourism competitiveness was due to weak research and low budget allocations to the sector.
He said the World Economic Forum?s Travel and Tourism competitiveness index for 2011 ranked Ghana 108th out of 139 countries in terms of tourism competitiveness which was a slight improvement form its 110th position in 2009.
The country also placed tenth among African countries and in West Africa only the Gambia and Senegal were above Ghana as being more competitive.
Mr Jamal made these remarks at a sensitisation workshop for stakeholders in the Upper West Region on the operationalisation of the new Tourism Law, Act 817 and the implementation of the tourism Levy regulations (LI 2185)
He said the true wealth-creating and poverty reduction potential of the tourism sector was yet to be derived as Ghana was yet to make the necessary investments in that sector.
The government alone could not meet the substantial amounts of money involved hence the need for imposition of levies to complement government budget allocations, he stated.
He said any country that wished to compete in the tourism market must scale up its legislations, policies, infrastructure and quality of service.
According to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), tourism arrivals and receipts doubled between the periods 2005 and 2010, while the tourism arrivals and receipts also grew at double digit figures annually within the same period.
Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, said figures released recently by the GTA showed that visitor arrivals grew from 698,069 in 2008 to 1,080,220 in 2011, with corresponding receipts of 1.4 billion dollars and 2.17 billion dollars respectively.
He called for a public/private partnership as a way of making Ghana a competitive and quality tourism destination within the frame work of respect for the country?s cultural, historical and environmental heritage.
The Regional Minister said his region could boast of many tourism resources such as the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary and World?s heritage monuments like the Wa Naa?s palace and the Gwollu Slave Defence Walls.