President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said despite the country’s economic challenges, the government would continue to create a business-friendly environment to enhance entrepreneurship and use tourism as an effective tool for economic transformation.
The President said tourism, a vital component of economic growth and development, had been globally embraced as an important driver of economic activity and transformation.
The President, in line with this, last Friday announced the government’s plans to build a USD10 million tourism and hospitality training school in Accra, to provide customer care training to operators in the tourism and hospitality value chain.
President Akufo-Addo made the disclosure when he officially opened the newest Alisa Hotel, located in Community 12, 8km from the Tema Harbour.
He said building the capacity of tourism and hospitality players was key and important in the country’s quest to become a tourism destination in the West Africa region.
“When customers are happy and delighted, they do not only stay longer in hotels but also spend more and are likely to return in future with their families and friends.”
The tourism and hospitality sector is currently the third largest contributor to Ghana’s GDP, after Cocoa and oil and gas.
It accounts for 2 in 10 jobs in the country and for these reasons, the government since 2017, implemented several initiatives to help transform the sector into a strong tool for economic growth and transformation.
President Akufo-Addo said the government’s focus in the next 18 months, was to exploit the country’s culture, heritage, history, hospitality and beautiful natural scenery, to attract tourists, fun lovers and leisure seekers who hope to find a unique experience in Africa.
Over the last few years, the government had embarked on a product improvement plan where several tourist sites in the country are currently undergoing site renovations — Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Cape Coast and Elmina Castles amongst others.
The government, with the support of international partners, according to President Akufo-Addo, was investing heavily in key tourism attractions, which would intend, to boost tourists’ arrivals this year and beyond.
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality sector had been the most adversely affected — evident by the 75 per cent decline in international tourism arrivals in 2020 and a 45 per cent reduction in 2021.
Luckily, President Akufo-Addo said, the sector was rebounding faster after the government took some bold and decisive measures that saved lives, livelihoods and businesses, as well as the global easing of restrictions.
He said the government was a “natural leader” of the private sector and since its assumption of office in 2017, it had achieved modest success through policy initiatives and implementation to create a business-friendly environment for the sector to thrive.
The government’s vision, according to the President, was to help market Ghana as an exciting destination for leisure, conferences, sports, health, education and cultural tourism.
And the existence of hotels such as Alisa Hotels, President Akufo-Addo indicated was critical to the realisation of that vision.
Group Chairman of Alisa Hotels, Kwame Ofusu Bamfo, popularly known ass as “Sikkens” commended the government for its innovative programmes — “The Year of Return” and “Beyond the Return” initiatives which he said had turned the face of tourism in the country.
Designed by renowned Ghanaian architect, Augustus Richardson, the Alisa Hotel, Tema, which features a total of 46 guest rooms and four suits, is one of the most trusted hospitality brands in Ghana, acclaimed for its conferencing and accommodation facilities.