Kumasi, March 28, GNA - The Ministry of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City is to establish a Tourism Development Fund for the marketing, promotion, provision of training facilities and the expansion of facilities in the tourism industry. The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) and the Hotel Tourism and Catering Training Institute have also drawn up training programmes for all categories of personnel in the hotel and catering sector to update their knowledge and sharpen their skills.
Mr Charles Osei-Bonsu, acting Deputy Executive Director of GTB in-charge of Finance and Administration, who announced these said the measures had become necessary in view of the fact that about 80 percent of staff in the tourism establishments were untrained. Speaking at the sixth Ashanti Regional Tourism Awards Night in Kumasi on Saturday, he noted that this situation was impacting negatively on the service delivery of these establishments as the services they rendered lacked quality and efficiency.
Mr Osei-Bonsu also hinted that under the five-year strategic action plan drawn by the ministry, it had been projected that tourists arrival in the country would increase to one million with a corresponding projected earnings of 1.5 million dollars as gross foreign exchange earnings by 2007. Under the plan, he said, the ministry would also be expected to create 360,000 employments in the tourism industry and to develop the Lake Bosomtwe basin into an Eco-tourism site.
Mr Osei-Bonsu appealed to the management of the Otumfuo's Golden Development Holding Company (GDHC) to consider tourism as a priority sector and channel some resources into the provision of conference hotels, leisure holiday lodges and the establishment of an international museum in Ashanti to attract more tourists and generate employment for the people.
Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, in an address read on his behalf, advocated improvement in the quality of the country's traditional eating establishments to give both domestic and foreign visitors the confidence to patronise their services. Oheneba Adusei Poku, the Akyempimhene of Kumasi, entreated the award winners to let their prizes spur them on to achieve greater excellence. In all, 23 individuals, corporate bodies and communities were honoured for their contributions to the development and growth of the tourism industry in the Ashanti Region.