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28.11.2004 General News

Catering sector cry for help

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Accra, Nov. 28, GNA - The Director of EKGS Catering Institute, Mrs Efua Goode-Arthur on Sunday called on the government to create an enabling environment for the sustainable development, marketing and promotion of the hospitality industry in the country.

"The Government through the Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City must assist in the improvement of institutional capacity for quality service delivery and the evaluation and monitoring of community involvement in hospitality development, in order to spread the socio-economic benefits of the industry," she said.

Mrs Goode-Arthur was speaking at the 12th Graduation ceremony of the EKGS Catering Institute in Accra for 64 females and a male student who had completed a course in cake making and decoration, cookery, and pastry making.

The ceremony, which was under the theme: "Great Minds Skilful Hands At Work," was chaired by Mr Samuel Ayim of ECOBank Togo and attended by parents and friends of the students.

The institute established six years ago had trained over 400 students in various categories of catering with professional excellence.

Mrs Goode-Arthur called for sustainable hospitality and tourism development policy to increase public understanding of the industry to ensure greater participation in the sector, as well as promote Ghana as a competitive and quality destination to increase tourist arrivals and receipts.

She also called for the creation of an enabling environment for easy accessibility to the tools and equipment that caterers need to facilitate their work.

The EKGS Director said since tourism and hospitality industry was the "world's fastest-growing sector", it must be provided with the appropriate funding.

Mrs Goode-Arthur said: "We recognise that the low level of funding constitute a serious constraint on the effective implementation of programmes to improve the industry, especially the training of manpower personnel".

She, therefore, appealed to the Government and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to include students of catering and other hospitality institutions in the country on the student loans scheme.

This would motivate as well as alleviate the heavy financial burden on students of the institutes.

Mrs Goode-Arthur said Ghana was endowed with "enormous tourism potential" and expressed the hope that with appropriately trained personnel, adequate funding and infrastructure, the country could have a comparative advantage over other international competitors in the industry.

Concerning the institute's training programmes, the EKGS Director, said the subject content was essentially linked to the socio-economic benefits, which Ghanaians and tourist will derive including employment opportunities, revenue and income generation.

Mr A. B. Amoateng, Metro Director of Ghana Education Service, urged the district assemblies to develop various tourist sites doted throughout the country.

He said: "The districts assemblies have to invest part of their common funds in the development of the tourists' sites, as several appeals to private investors to take up the project have not yielded any positive result," and appealed to private investors to develop tourism sites.

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