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25.05.2004 Travel & Tourism

Tourism must take cognisance of nation's aspirations- Saddique

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Elmina (C/R), May 25, GNA- Mr Boniface Abubakar Saddique, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City (MOTCC) on Tuesday, called for the formulation of a policy that would take cognisance of the country's past, present and future aspirations for the tourism industry.

He said this is necessary because tourism is "dynamic, multifaceted and regulated" by globalisation, competitiveness, and discerning customers who demand value for money, as well as quality service delivery.

Mr Saddique was opening a three-day workshop on "enhancement of Ghana's tourism policy and legislation", at Elmina in the Central Region.

It is being organised by the Georgia State University in the United States, under the 'Ghana Tourism Capacity Development Initiative', in collaboration with the ministry.

The workshop is designed under the MOTCC's five-year strategic plan, from 2003-2007, which aims at formulating responses based on best practice principles in tourism.

It would also enhance Ghana's image as a preferred destination for investments, safe and quality tourism experience in Africa. Sixty participants drawn from the ministry, parliamentary select committees on trade, industry and tourism, department of game and wild life, tour operators, GIMPA, and other stakeholders in the tourism industry, are attending.

Under the five-year strategic action plan, the ministry has targeted to increase the country's revenue from tourism, from 500 million dollars to 1.5 billion dollars annually, by the year 2007. The Deputy Minister said although this target is "realistic and achievable", they could not be achieved, if there is no proper collaboration and coordination among all stakeholders.

He called for a strong and sustainable public/private sector partnership in decision-making and implementation of agreed strategies and activities.

Mr Saddique urged the participants to consider issues, which border on the national objectives of reducing poverty, through the Ghana Poverty Strategy (GPS), NEPAD, millennium development goal and the ECOWAS Protocol.

He said this would ensure the requisite and competitive enabling environment that would encourage investment in tourism, as well as attract more tourists to visit and spend money in Ghana. Dr Earl Picard, of the Georgia State University, observed that the country has for a long time, not made any "real effort" to put in place the requisite legislation to move the industry forward, and that such a legislation, was necessary, to strengthen tourism.

He therefore advised the participants to take the workshop seriously, stressing that it was important to ensure that the desired results, were achieved.

Some of the topics treated included, "overview of Ghana's current tourism policy and legislative framework, principles and issues to consider in policy review and enhancement, and best practices in tourism".

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