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Tourism Industry Urged to Enhance Local Currency Stability

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Tourists visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra, capital of Ghana, July 4, 2023. Ghana on Tuesday reopened the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, a major cultural heritage in the capital city of Accra to memorize the country's first president, in the hope of boosting tourism. The park, first opened in 1992, has just completed its refurbishment under the Ghanaian government's five-year project to boost tourism and hospitality as critical drivers of socio-economic development. (Photo by Seth/Xinhua)
Tourists visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra, capital of Ghana, July 4, 2023. Ghana on Tuesday reopened the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, a major cultural heritage in the capital city of Accra to memorize the country's first president, in the hope of boosting tourism. The park, first opened in 1992, has just completed its refurbishment under the Ghanaian government's five-year project to boost tourism and hospitality as critical drivers of socio-economic development. (Photo by Seth/Xinhua)

Tourism and hospitality players have been encouraged to make the sector more attractive and promote it as a go-to destination for domestic and intra-African leisure and business activities.

This would be a game changer in terms of generating domestic revenue, promoting economic growth and stability, creating more job opportunities for youths, and strengthening the Cedi and other African currencies.

This was the outcome of the second quarter edition of the Chief Executive Officers’ (CEOs) Breakfast meeting, held by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) in Accra last Thursday.

The forum was on the theme: “Regulatory framework for tourism infrastructure and its growth.”

The call comes at a time when Ghana and many other African countries have been excluded from accessing the international credit market, necessitating the exploration of domestic financing options.

The forum emphasised the sector’s potential to generate revenue and help strengthen local currencies, create more jobs, boost cultural exchanges, and preserve national heritage.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, international tourism receipts reached US$1 trillion in 2022 due to a rebound in travels, marking a 50 per cent increase in real terms from 2021.

Africa regained 75 per cent of its pre-pandemic revenues, and in Ghana, inbound visitors spending totalled US$2.5 billion, with around 914,892 international arrivals in 2022.

In 2023, the expenditure by inbound visitors increased to US$3.8 billion, while arrivals reached 1,148,002.

Speaking at the event, Dr Stephen Amoah, a Deputy Minister of Finance, said the demands of the times necessitated that countries look inward for finance, including prioritising tourism and hospitality sectors.

“We need to build homegrown policy tools that specifically address our needs… and make sure that we all repent. Let us begin to show that high level of patronage and keep the money here.

“We always talk about Cedi depreciation, but if we change the Cedi into Dollars and go there [outside the country], won’t the Cedi suffer,” the Deputy Minister quizzed.

Dr. Amoah advocated for an increase in local patronage, stating, “If you stay here, the dollar people will come, and they will demand our currency,” adding that the country must work to make tourism a key element of economic growth and stability.

He advised the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to create programmes to allow workers from various Ministries, Agencies, and Departments (MDAs) to explore the country’s attractions.

Mr Yoofi Grant, CEO of GIPC, applauded industry players for their contributions to reinvigorating the sector through events such as the ‘year of return and the beyond the return.

He called for support and attitudinal change to boost the patronage of domestic tourism.

Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Minister of Tourism Designate, said in a speech read on his behalf that the development of hotels, resorts, transportation networks, and recreational facilities had a significant impact on the tourism environment.

He did, however, acknowledge that a strong regulatory framework was essential for creating local employment, supporting small businesses, preserving cultural heritage, and alleviating poverty.

“Let us work together towards a future where tourism serves as a force for good, enriching the lives of both visitors and host communities alike,” he urged those in the sector.

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