The Ministry of Health has declared Sogakope, capital of the South Tongu District in the Volta Region, as a health tourism centre in the country.
This is based on the growing private investment in equipment for regenerative health in line with the ministry's vision to promote the concept of wealth creation through healthy living.
The sector Minister, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), made the declaration at the inauguration of a ¢5-billion ultra-modern Golden Jubilee SPA at a three-star hotel, Villa Cisneros Resort Limited, at Sogakope last Monday.
The project was financed with a joint credit from the Ghana Commercial Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank in support of private sector development in the country.
Major Quashigah said the project, which was the second of its kind in the area, gave true meaning to the current paradigm shift in health delivery which sought to take health out of the hospital by preventing diseases.
He said although God created man with the necessary nutrients and water, man had decided to degenerate his own health through bad eating habits, corrupted with the lack of exercise.
Major Quashigah charged district assemblies to champion good environmental sanitation by supervising the proper disposal of waste in order to create an attractive environment for visitors.
He also advised food vendors to adopt good packaging and handling methods to guarantee the safety of consumers.
In an address, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Mrs Bridget Katsriku, said SPA facilities all over the world had become fashionable attractions for domestic and international tourists, adding that investment in SPA in the country would enhance competitiveness in the international tourism market.
She said other man-made attractions were casinos, sports, shopping malls and innovative creations which should be well packaged and managed for sustainability and quality service.
Mrs Katsriku cautioned service providers in the tourism industry not to sacrifice quality for profit, adding that good customer service would always bring more people to a facility if customers were treated with decorum.
She deplored the high level of unprofessional employees in hospitality facilities in the country and blamed it on the desire by managers to employ cheap labour.
According to her, only 10 per cent of all employees in the tourism industry had received any form of training and expressed regret that although the ministry had designed training programmes for 8,000 employees, only 2,000 took advantage of the programmes.
The Executive Director of Villa Cisneros, Dr Bernard Glover, said the SPA was conceived to adjust to the dynamics of the international tourism landscape.
He said SPA was an abbreviation for the Latin phrase "sanus per aqua", which means "health through water", and that basically it was a water treatment process.
He said the Golden Jubilee SPA also marked Ghana's 50th birthday celebration and said the facility had equipment for fitness condition, cabin detoxifier, multi-functional slimming device and a multi-purpose massage room.
Others are jumbo-size Jacuzzis, fumigative cabin, multi-functional gym, bridal grooming, manicure and pedicure, a state-of-the-art health shop, among other facilities.
The Member of Parliament for South Tongu, Mr Ken Dzirasah, said the project was a significant breakthrough by the management of Cisneros to add value to its hospitality facility and that it was also a demonstration of business acumen by the management.
A former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Godfried Agamah, who chaired the function, lauded the competitive abilities of the management of Cisneros which had led to the creation of the first SPA capital in Ghana.
He said there was the need to encourage the youth to enable them to aspire to become productive and responsible citizens.
Story by Tim Dzamboe