President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced plans by the government to develop a state-of-the-art tourism and hospitality training school in Accra.
The $10 million facility would provide customer care training to operators in the hospitality and tourism value chain across West Africa.
The President made the announcement when he formally opened the Tema branch of the Alisa Hotel at the weekend.
The hotel, situated at Community 12, Tema, features a total of 50 rooms including four exquisite suites, a sky bar, pool bar, restaurant, spa, a conference and events hall, gym, among other facilities.
The third of such facility held by the Alisa brand, the hotel is envisaged to fill a niche in the hospitality industry in the port city.
President Akufo-Addo told guest at the event that the project was in furtherance of his administration's vision to market Ghana as an exciting destination for leisure, conferences, sports, health, educational and cultural tourism.
With the hospitality industry now the third largest contributor to the country's GDP after cocoa, oil and gas, he said the government would implement initiatives to transform the sector into a strong tool for economic transformation.
The President pointed out that building the capacity of tourism players was therefore important in government's quest to make the country the tourism destination of choice in West Africa.
“When customers are happy and delighted, they do not only stay longer in hotels but also spend more and likely to return in future with family and friends”
“Our focus over the next 18 months is to exploit our culture, heritage history, hospitality and beautiful natural scenery to attract tourists, fun lovers and leisure seekers hoping to find a unique experience in Africa”
President Akufo-Addo said government since assuming the reins of authority, government had put in place measures and initiatives which had resulted in the construction of a thriving tourism economy in the country.
He related that over the past few months, the government had embarked on a product improvement plan where several tourism sites in the country are currently undergoing site renovation under the Ghana Tourism Development Project.
“This year alone it is expected that some $25 million will be expended to upgrade some of our iconic sites.
“We want to use tourism as an effective tool for economic transformation, which will help to create jobs and prosperity for the people. That is why Government, with the support of international partners, is investing heavily in key tourism attractions, which will, in turn, boost tourist arrivals this year and beyond.”
The President commended the Group Chair of the Alisa Hotels, Mr Kwame Ofosu Bamfo, for the “brilliant initiative” and reiterated the commitment of the government to build a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
“Despite the current difficulties facing our nation, we will continue to build a business-friendly environment that will enhance entrepreneurship-a vital component of economic growth and development,” he said.
Mark Okraku Mantey, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said through the practical effort of the government to train people and improve tourist sites, Ghana had now become the number one destination for tourism in West Africa.
He said the ministry was promoting tourism by aggressively improving tourist sites to bring surety of returns and ensure that standards of hotels across the country are improved
The Deputy Minister commended the Mr Bamfo for his contributions in advancing the growth of the hospitality industry in the country.
Mr Bamfo, said the addition of the Tema branch of the hotel would go a long way to advance the course of the growth of the hospitality industry and well as impact the sustainability of the group.
He appealed to the government to offer the industry some respite and access to credit to help create jobs.