President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Government’s decision to prioritise tourism as a key policy for economic diversification, job creation and growth, is paying off.
He said both domestic and international tourism were rebounding significantly from the severely disruptive impact of COVID-19 on the travel and tour industry with international arrivals hitting three times the figures in 2020.
The President said this during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday, March 8.
He said: “International arrivals nearly trebled last year, from a low of three hundred and fifty-five thousand, one hundred and eight (355,108) in 2020, to over nine hundred and fifteen thousand (915,000).”
President Akufo-Addo said domestic visits to tourist sites had also gone up by over 55.7 per cent during the same period, attributing such progress to the deliberate marketing initiatives and upgrades of tourist infrastructure by the Tourism Ministry and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA)
“World Economic Forum Report 2021 Travel Index, ranks Ghana as the number one tourism destination in West Africa. The potential contribution of tourism and the arts to GDP is, therefore, one that we must nurture and emphasise,” he said.
The President said the “Beyond The Return” initiative he launched in 2019 as a sequel to the “Year of Return”, had reignited excitement about Ghana as the “hub and a Mecca for the Global pan-African”.
“A home every person of African descent must visit at least once in their lifetime,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said a Ghanaian citizenship was conferred on Madam Viola Fletcher (108 years) and her brother Uncle Red (102 years) a few days ago at a historic ceremony in Washington DC.
The new Ghanaian citizens are the two of the only three living survivors of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921.
The President said he would be chairing a tourism stakeholder Retreat on “Rethinking Tourism for National Development & Job Creation,” and had tasked the Ministry and GTA to work on the modalities to bring together all the stakeholders.
“Over the next couple of years, my government will deepen even further our efforts to make tourism a strong primary source of growth for the economy,” he said.