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10.02.2005 Travel & Tourism

Minister urges tourism sector to work harder

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Ho, Feb 10, GNA - Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the Minister for Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, on Thursday urged agencies and frontline personnel in the tourism sector to make the next four years a historic period in the tourism development of the country.

During the period all challenges should be seen as opportunities for leaving indelible footprints on the tourism landscape of the country as Tetteh Quarshie did for the Cocoa industry in Ghana.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey made the call at the review meeting of the agencies comprising the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), the Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, Ghana Tourist Development Company (GTDC) and Hotel Catering and Tourism Institute.

He said Ghana has many areas of comparative advantage in tourism over countries such as Malaysia, Egypt and Morocco that are giants in international tourism.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said luckily the government has committed itself to making the sector the country's "goldmine" by investing in areas such as human resource training and infrastructure development. Experts from Morocco and Egypt would be in the country to train tour guides and other service providers to be professionally tuned to their work.

He said the quality of human resource in the sector accounts for 50 percent of the value of the sector.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said domestic tourism should also be developed along-side international tourism that is seasonal and dependent on domestic tourism that is non-seasonal.

He said the country's tourism strategy would focus on the West African sub region especially Nigeria, because despite the concern about the way some Nigerians misconduct themselves in the country there are good and wealthy ones too who must be welcomed in.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said high cost of flights into the country would be tackled through the introduction of charter flights while private investors would be encouraged to invest in building more hotels. He called on officials of the various agencies under the ministry to encourage owners of hotels to pool their resources together and build bigger five-star hotels instead of going solo.

Mrs Bridgette Katsriku, the Chief Director of the Ministry, said the performance of the sector was not the best when viewed against the sector's target of attracting one million tourists into the country by 2007.

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