Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister for Tourism and Diasporean Relations, yesterday stressed the need to institutionalise public-private partnership to improve services, product development and marketing.
He said organised partnership among various sectors of the tourism industry would be more conducive for tourism development instead of pursuing individual interest where one person used the opportunity to make more money.
Mr Obetesebi-Lamptey was speaking at a two-day forum on Public-Private Partnership aimed at forging stronger collaboration between the Government and private sectors in the tourism industry.
The forum on the theme: "The Ghana Tourism Development Project for Strengthening Public-Private Partnership (PPP)" is a joint project by the Sector Ministry and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
The meeting, which brought together private entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, would provide a platform for the private sector and the public sector to find joint solutions to problems in the industry.
The PPP project expected to be completed in January 2009, began last February when five JICA experts came to Ghana to work with the Sector Ministry to establish the Public-Private Partnership Forum (PPPF).
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey noted that the 50th independence anniversary would be an opportunity for Ghana's tourism sector and urged players in the industry to take advantage of the occasion to make maximum profit and project the image of Ghana.
Using Soweto in South Africa as an example, he said every tourist that visited the country had an opportunity to visit tourist sites organised by tour operators in the country. "Every hotel in Soweto has a small brochure where planned tours by tour operators are listed for the day. The hotels and tour operators thus collaborate to promote the country's tourist sites."
He challenged the private sector to liaise by working together as an organised group to promote tourism. Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said: "No hotel has as yet given any special offer or packages to promote the celebration of Ghana's 50th anniversary and there has been no initiative by the private sector to organise tours to Ghana as part of the 50th anniversary celebration."
On health, he said there was the need to maintain a clean environment and to have clean washrooms.
Mrs Bridget Katsriku, Chief Director of the Ministry, speaking on the concept of public-private partnership, noted that this was needed to unlock development opportunities in the tourism sector, bring on board innovation, skills transfer to improve competitiveness. She said the Government had a duty to facilitate and stimulate programmes to create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest and provide quality services.
Mrs Katsriku stressed the need for a balanced structure within the partnership with clear roles and responsibilities, shared leadership and well defined goals for a successful implementation of the partnership.