Jukwa (C/R), April 22, GNA - Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, on Wednesday re-echoed the government's intention to make Ghana the most preferred tourism destination in Africa, capable of attracting one million tourists and yielding 1.5 billion dollars to the economy by 2007.
He said the attainment of this feat would lead to an increase in person's employed by the sector from the current 115,000 to over 300,000, well-trained and well-prepared to meet the tourists' expectation of the friendly, serviceable and hospitable Ghanaian. Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey made these statements in a speech read for him by his special assistant, Mr Ferdinand O. Ayim, at Jukwa during the sod-cutting ceremony for work to begin on the construction of Jukwa Cultural Village (JCV).
The JCV is a project being undertaken by the citizens of Twifo, Hemang, Mokwa, Jukwa and Denkyira in the Lower and Upper districts of the Central Region at an estimated cost of five million dollars. It is expected to serve as a lasting tribute to the late Nina Simone, a Black-American activist and a great jazz musician.
The work, which is to be completed in two years, would be sponsored by Nina Simone Foundation of the United States, Women Community Impact (WCI), Ghana, an international NGO, in collaboration with the Twifo-Hemang Lower Denkyira District (THLD) and the Upper Denkyira District (UDD) assemblies, Jukwa traditional area and the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
The cultural village, when completed would have all the attributes for the promotion of sustainable eco-tourism, provide vocational training, serve as a research centre and an Information, Communication Technology Centre (ICT), which would help bridge the yawning digital gap between the urban and rural areas of the country.
The minister noted that the objectives for establishing the centre were achievable in view of the peace and tranquillity prevailing in the country, resulting in the increasing preference of Ghana for conference tourism.
He appealed to the chiefs and people of the area to ensure that the forthcoming elections were not only free, but that the campaigning that would precede it was also, conducted in peace and tranquillity since tourism thrived on peace and security.
Professor George Hagan, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture (NCC), said the cultural village was to be used to promote education and urged the people to ensure that children did not turn the place into a safe haven for truancy.
He said the area would receive a lot of visitors when the project was completed and warned them to check their sexual habits, as it would be difficult for them to identify those carrying the HIV/AIDS virus. Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for THLD advised the people to bury their differences and unite to enhance the socio-economic development of the area.
Mr Richard Anane Adabor the DCE for UDD, said the Africans in the Diaspora should not feel reluctant to come to Ghana, since their Ghanaians brothers and sisters were always ready to give them a warm welcome and the typical Ghanaian hospitality.
Ms Charmaine Kelly, Executive Director of WCCI, Ghana, said through this collaboration and the establishment of the cultural village Africans in the Diaspora would find a haven where they could come and learn their history, songs, dances, languages, dressing and way of life.
This will enable them to integrate themselves into the society where they rightly belong, she emphasised.
Nana Ama Ayensua Saara, the Queenmother of the Denkyira Traditional Area, on behalf of the chiefs expressed much gratitude to the Nina Simone Foundation and WCCI, Ghana for the interest shown in the project and the sponsorship.
She explained that the Denkyiras had a very rich culture, which was worth learning, and expressed the hope that the cultural village would undoubtedly unearth them for tourist's consumption.
Professor Christopher Ameyaw Ekumfi, Minister of Railways, Ports and Harbours who cut the sod said the project was an ample testimony of the unity existing among the Denkyiras, which he said is worthy of emulation by all Ghanaians.
Mr Robert Kelly and Mrs Lisa Kelly, both of the Nina Simone Foundation, were installed as Denkyira Nkosuohene and Nkosuohema, under the stool name of Nana Amoako Atta I and Nana Amoakua Yiadom respectively.
There were also solidarity messages from the Nina Simone Foundation and the University of Cape Coast.