Accra, Aug 31, GNA - Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, on Tuesday launched World Tourism Day celebrations with a call on social groups to mobilise themselves to use the occasion to promote indigenous games.
He said most indigenous games like oware, ampe and ludo were almost unknown to the youth while the older ones who used to play these games had nearly forgotten them.
He urged everybody, especially chiefs, tourist clubs, religious organisations, market women and keep fit clubs to get particularly interested in this year's celebration to help revive such Ghanaian games to serve as a boost to tourism attractions and the industry in general. The day is universally celebrated on September 27 each year to draw attention to tourism and its role in the socio-economic development of nations.
The theme for this year's celebration is: "Sports and Tourism: Two Driving Forces for Mutual Understanding and the Development of Societies." The Ministries of Tourism and Education, Youth and Sports are to host Ghana's celebrations.
At a media briefing, which was attended by the Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Sports, Mr Joe Aggrey and the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mahami Salifu, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said the celebrations would be used to promote lesser known tourism attractions and games in keeping with the spirit of World Tourism Day celebrations.
He said the objective of the collaboration between the two ministries was to foster unity, promote understanding and engender friendship and brotherliness among Ghanaians, especially in an election year.
"The chemical is simply right. Whilst tourism is a culture that needs to be inculcated especially in our youth, both as a recreation and education, sports is a universally popular form of tourism which needs to be appreciated and patronised in this country."
Activities of the celebrations including tug of war, weight throwing, catapult target shooting, draught, wrestling and pot racing would be observed in all the regions with the national celebrations to be climaxed at Yendi and Tamale in the Northern Region.
The Minister said Ghana would use the three days preceding the international celebrations, from September 24 to 27, to focus on exploring tourist sites along the route of Tamale through the Mole Game Park to Daboya in the Northern Region and through the Techiman and Kintampo route in Brong Ahafo Region.
He said provision would be made for individuals to participate and win prizes in local games some of which had the potential for universal exposure and acceptance.
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said the celebration would also serve as a platform to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS menace, which was fast becoming a consequence of social activity and a danger to the youth.