Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) has called for an immediate change of its name to Ghana Tourist Authority.
The Senior Staff Association of the GTB which made the call believed that by becoming an authority, there would be greater autonomy of operating and sources of funding to meet its expenditures.
At the sixth biennial congress of the association, its president, Ekow Sampson, made a passionate appeal to the government to reconstitute the Board of Directors of the GTB which was dissolved in 2001.
Mr. Sampson pointed out that an appeal on the issue was made to the previous government but to no avail and appealed to the present administration as a matter of urgency to reconstitute the Board, saying that “for the past eight years we have operated without a Board of Directors.”
The congress was under the theme: “Quality Human Resource, the Means Towards an Accelerated Tourism Development”, which was chosen in view of the enormous difficulties facing the tourism industry.
According to the association's president, the board of directors was a constitutional requirement stipulated in the establishment of the Ghana Tourist Control Board Decree of 1973, NRC 224 and amended by the GTB Decree of 1977, SMCD 80.
He explained that the board of directors was supposed to oversee the operation of the board and therefore, its continued non-existence impacted negatively on some aspects of their operations.
Calling for a board of directors, he said, “We mean putting up a competent, experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated people who are ready not only to serve but to modernize the operations of the GTB to meet its numerous challenges.”
Mr. Sampson urged the government to revisit the proposed Tourism Development Fund to provide funding for the speedy development of tourism in the country.
He also suggested that sufficient funds must be released for the training of tourism personnel and its activities.
The Deputy Chief Executive of the GTB, Charles Osei Bonsu, added his voice to the establishment of the Tourism Development Fund stressing the industry needed massive investment injection to enable it to live up to expectation.
Mr. Osei Bonsu noted that the essential panacea for sustainable growth of the tourism industry in Ghana was continuous training and education of staff in view of the current global challenges and the changing trend in the tourism industry.
He noted that there had been public criticism of the poor quality of services rendered by workers in the tourism industry and highlighted training as the key to solve the problems.