The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku has told Citi Business News the first portion of a 50 million dollar grant by the World Bank will be released to government by June this year.
The money, she says will help in improving the state of roads at tourist sites, as well as improve sanitation in those places.
The World Bank earlier this year approved the $50 million dollar grant, to support the Ministry and its agencies to improve sector productivity for job creation.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the sidelines of the inaugural West Africa Intergrated Travel Forum, Madame Afeku said she was optimistic the money will help increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP.
“Not a cent has been disbursed yet but between now and June the first tranche will come out. The money will be used for tourism development in the country. We’re talking about roads leading to the tourist site, sanitation around tourist sites, training as well as marketing.”
Madame Afeku added that a lot of work is being done in the background to lift the country’s tourism potential.
“It’s a work in progress, and I’m very excited about the prospects of the sector. In a year or two, Ghanaians should see major improvement in tourism, development in the country. If you don’t have a developed product no one will come and see your arts or culture. And if it’s a terrible experience you won’t get repeat business.”
The two-day West Africa Integrated Travel Forum was used to among other things begin a process of promoting joint marketing efforts amongst Tourism Boards and Authorities in the West African Sub-region.
The forum was also used to draw the attention of the related authorities and policy makers to the need to ease up travel blocks within the region.
The West Africa Integrated Travel Forum (WAIT) served as an avenue to link consumers with products and services across the sub-region and provide a joint platform for access to information, organize road shows, exhibitions and other joint promotional efforts.
Giving the welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman emphasized the importance of trust to the growth of the tourism industry.
Mr. Agyeman also called on political and sector authorities within the sub-region to design policies and plans that will foster inclusive tourism growth, Intra-West Africa travel, and also contribute to openness for a borderless and interconnected sub-region.
By: Bobbie Osei/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana