Miss Jessica Nortey, a 15-year old hearing impaired student from the Cape-Coast School for the Deaf was on Friday adjudged the winner of a Domestic Tourism Awareness Essay Contest.
She wrote an essay on the topic: "A Festival in my Town or Village". The contest was keenly contested by 766 students in the Central Region.
The Domestic Tourism Awareness Essay Contest is organized by the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGA) to promote domestic tourism among school children with the objective of making them cultivate the habit of touring and knowing their country.
Miss Nortey for her award received a cheque for 500 Ghana Cedis, a half piece of Ghana @50 cloth, mathematical sets, a T' Shirt and Cup from Nestle Ghana Limited. She also had a certificate and would participate in a tour of the Greater Accra Region and other selected tourists sites.
Thirty-nine other students from selected schools in the Central Region also received various prizes for writing good essays on domestic tourism.
The pupils wrote on the following topics: "A Festival in my Town or Village, A Tourists Attraction in my District and A Visit to a Cocoa farm."
Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations said the ministry would work closely with TOUGA to create awareness on the domestic front on the importance of tourism and its benefits to the large, medium, small and micro enterprises and the communities.
He said the Ghana CAN 2008 provided an opportunity for Ghana to reposition herself onto the global tourists map and assert her resolve as the preferred destination in Africa.
"Major strides in the tourism sector cannot be made without the express involvement of our local people, not only by providing requisite services, but more importantly the reception we accord to our guest who patronize our services and visit the communities."
Mr Asamoah-Boateng, commending TOUGA for the awards ceremony urged members to use the contest as a platform to help the youth appreciate Ghana's heritage, learn more about the country and support community tourism development initiatives.
Mrs Stella Appenteng, President of TOUGA, said her organization's theme was; "Experience our Tourism Dream" and said the dream of the tour operators was for every Ghanaian to know the country well through tourism.
She said the involvement of the physically challenged in the domestic tourism essay competition was important.
Mr Solomon Kyere, Official at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel stated that effective promotion and patronage of tourists' sites could generate a substantial amount of revenue for the country annually.
"We need to catch the interest of the youth at their formative years so that their generation could have the requisite interest in domestic tourism," Mr Kyere said.
Dr. Siedu Daana, a visually impaired legal practitioner who chaired the function, noted that for seven years TOUGA had sustained the domestic tourism essay contest with the drive to promote domestic tourism.
He commended TOUGA for involving the physically challenged in the essay competition and said disability was not inability as demonstrated by the winner of the contest.