He made the call in a statement read on his behalf by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, at the 15th edition of the Ghana Tourism Awards on Friday, March 22, 2019.
According to the president, “the pan-African legacy of our early leaders has never been in doubt and I have tasked the ministry and the Tourism Authority to build on this legacy and make Ghana a true heritage pilgrimage destination for our brothers and sisters from the diaspora.”
He described the tourism sector as one of the most important sectors of the Ghanaian economy and spoke about the interventions his administration has put in place to further develop the sector.
He said, “Under my watch, the tourism sector is receiving the needed push with the elevation of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to cabinet status. The Tourism Authority has reported gains and growth across several indices – visitor arrivals, per capita spend of visitors, number of establishments, number of tourist’s facilities etc since we assumed the reins of government.”
The president explained that “I am also aware of several tourist sites improvement programs such as the Axim Fort St. Antonio project, Assin Manso Slave River project, Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, Bunso Arboretum, Kintampo waterfalls and the Elmina Heritage Bay project.”
He added that “this with the ongoing destination single window automation programme and the marketing programmes – ‘Visit Ghana, See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana’ are all part of integral plans to transform the sector.”
According to him, “The ongoing $40 million World Bank Tourism development programme is also an added bonus to this drive to make our tourism sector grow.”
Mr. Akufo-Addo stressed that “tourism is a multi-sector industry and the various other sectors – roads, skills development, sanitation, aviation and the visa regime are all being tackled in a multi-sectoral way for the needed impact.”
He indicated that “the theme chosen for today’s event, ‘celebrating our heritage’ resonates with the ‘Year of Return’ project which I proudly launched in front of the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States Congress, in September 2018.”
He added that “as we celebrate the award winners, it must be a clarion call for all of us within the sector and its value chain to be ready for the take-off.”