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24.11.2003 General News

Minister expresses concern about harassment of tourists

By GNA
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Koforidua, Nov. 24, GNA - The Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey on Sunday expressed concern about the harassment of tourists by children and some adults who demand handouts from the visitors.

He condemned such practices, which he said, tended to scare away tourists who then leave the country with bad memories and impressions of the people.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey who was speaking at a special Addae Kese Festival to commemorate 125 years of the New Juaben settlement in 1878 at Koforidua, appealed to district assemblies, chiefs and opinion leaders to institute measures to check such objectionable practices.

The festival was on the theme: "Promoting tourism and preventing AIDS in a clean environment."

According to him, one of Ghana's strongest features and biggest tourism products is its culture, which is not only rich, but also very much alive.

The minister commended the country's traditional rulers for upholding the rich culture and history by making them positive attributes of the nation.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey appealed for a dispassionate narration and discussion of the country's history, and called on Ghanaians not to fight against one another, but be united against the evils of disease, hunger and under-development.

He commended an initiative of the traditional area, which provides the opportunity for citizens living abroad to send their children home to be taught the culture, history and more about Ghana.

The minister said remittances from Ghanaians abroad were currently the nation's third highest foreign exchange earner with tourism as the fourth.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo-Mensah described the theme of the festival as appropriate since the government was leaving no stone unturned to promote tourism, reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and sustain a healthy and productive environment.

He appealed to the people of New Juaben to explore areas of attracting both indigenes of the area resident abroad as well as foreign investors to come and invest in the region's tourists' centres.

Dr Osafo Mensah praised the people for the peace and tranquillity that prevailed in the area for the past decade, saying the government had taken advantage of the peaceful atmosphere in the area to undertake massive reconstruction works in the municipality to uplift its image.

He appealed to the people in the area to join the crusade against the spread of the pandemic in the municipality, which was now alarming.

In a welcoming address, Daasebre Oti Boateng, Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional area, said the festival was to reinforce unity among the people to mobilise them for self-help development and educate them on their origins and customs.

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