On the 27th of September, 2020, World Tourism Day, will be celebrated globally under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). This year’s theme “Tourism and Rural Development” touches on rural communities, their role and potential for tourism development and also as a strong reminder and opportunity to expand our tourism reach by turning to our rural communities.
Ghana’s tourism made great strides in the year 2019, by virtue of the Year of Return Campaign, however the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the industry. Its harsh effects on the tourism industry include a delay in the launch and roll out of the Beyond the Return activities, a general downturn in the sector’s performance, massive and unanticipated loss of revenue and jobs. Some of the major short and long-term measures put in place by H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led Government for the robust recovery and growth of the tourism industry include:
• A US$4 million Grant facility for the development and diversification of tourism sites across the country especially rural communities.
• A US$5 million Grant facility to support tourism and hospitality sector small and medium enterprises.
• A Ghc3 Billion facility with a moratorium on repayment and a reduced interest rate for the big players in specific industries including the hospitality sector.
• A GH₵600 million COVID-19 stimulus package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) generally, which is also available to Tourism SMEs.
• Allocation of GH₵50 million to the Creative Arts and the Media
• Re-energizing the Ghana Tourism Authority’s See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana campaign for promoting domestic tourism and highlighting Ghana’s unique selling proposition in the industry.
• The Beyond the Return initiative; a follow-up to the successful Year of Return campaign, which seeks to promote and consolidate relations between the African diaspora and Ghana.
• Ghana obtaining WTTC Safe Travel Certificate to assure international tourists seeking to travel to Ghana of their safety as the country opens up its Airport for international flights.
• Establishment of a National Heritage Committee in collaboration with UNESCO to develop strategies, policies and programmes on heritage conservation, preservation, presentation and promotion to foster inter-cultural dialogue and promotion of Tourism for sustainable development.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture pledges its continuous support for the promotion and development of tourism in Ghana. It also expresses appreciation and commends all the various practitioners in the tourism, arts and culture sector; who have in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic remained commited to retaining Ghana on the competitive international tourism map as the preferred tourism destination in West Africa.