Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi has disclosed that her ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Business Development to launch an initiative dubbed, “Youth in Tourism” to provide financial assistance to youth engaged in tourism related businesses.
She said the youth plays a pivotal role in the growth of the tourism sector, hence the need to support their undertakings. Oteng-Gyasi made this known when giving a speech at the first day of this year’s Youth in Tourism Festival (YOTOFEST) at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre today.
The Minister said although most young people have innovative tourism projects going on, they face the challenge of finance and other resources to get these projects running.
“That’s why the President has established the Ministry of Business Development, and if you follow the activities of the Ministry you will see that they support small and medium size enterprises especially our youth who are coming with innovative ideas.
"So in collaboration with the ministry, we are going to come with a project, “Youth in Tourism” and come with a financing module which supports our youth who are coming up with certain innovations within the tourism sector. This is something we have initiated discussions with the Minister for Business Development and very soon we are going to launch it to support our youth in the sector,” the Minister said.
The opening day of YOTOFEST 2019 assembled traditional leaders, public officials, tourism industry players and student groups from various schools comprising students from JHS to the tertiary level within the Greater Accra Region for a seminar, exhibitions and a panel discussion on the theme, “My Culture, My Pride.”
In his speech, President of the Tourism Society of Ghana, (TOSOGHA) organisers of the event, John Annan said that the organization is committed to imbibing the culture of tourism in the youth on whose shoulders the future of the country rest.
Annan, who is also leading the charge to revise students’ curriculum at the Ghana Education Service, added that TOSOGHA will partner with key stakeholders in the education sector to develop guidelines that will make it possible for tourism to be studied as a subject in schools at the elementary level.
On his part, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, charged the youth to embrace technology in promoting the country’s tourism. “Time was when nobody believed that we could have the biggest hotel company in the world without the hotel; and that is Airbnb.
"Time was where nobody believed that we could have a transport organization as big as Uber without owning cars. We might not like it because it’s affecting and disrupting the work that we do but we cannot stop it. And so the earlier we embrace technology as young people, the earlier we learn the ropes of what technology can bring, the better it would be for us,” Agyeman stressed.
Executive Director for TOSOGHA, Joseph Amartey was delighted the event was happening at a time when Ghana has opened her doors for the return of the African diaspora in the Year of Return. The Youth Tourism Ambassador said he was thankful for the support TOSOGHA had enjoyed from various stakeholders in helping ensure a successful programme.
The three days event continues with a float through some principal streets of Accra, various arts and cultural performances, exhibitions, food bazaar and a tour to Cape Coast Castle on October 12.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah