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16.11.2005 Travel & Tourism

Tourism policy nears completion

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Accra, Nov. 16, GNA - The Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City is drafting a national tourism policy to help to develop Ghana as an internationally competitive and high quality destination.

It would capture areas where the tourism industry besides producing macro-economic benefits, explicitly contributes to poverty reduction and conservation of the country's cultural, historical and environmental heritage.

Mrs Bridget Katsriku, Chief Director of the Ministry, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, said the policy was strongly informed by the implementation of the second phase of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II), which takes off next year. The policy would also address the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the revised Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The key policy objectives include the development of selective high quality tourism products, which, Mrs Katsriku said would be good to make visitors leave a perception of good value for money.

Providing high quality facilities and services in the tourism industry, was another priority area and Mrs Katsriku said the quality of human resource, capacity building and quality assurance would be paramount for the development of quality tourism.

The new policy would also ensure that the tourism industry have adequate finance, properly managed and administered as effective and efficient as possible promoting tourism as a national priority.

Mrs Katsriku explained that under the GPRS II, key policy interventions and strategies expected to be pursued included the promotion of tourism as a major source of domestic revenue with particular focus on women entrepreneurs, promotion of domestic tourism to foster national cohesion as well as redistribution of income. Other key areas are the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism and the promotion of crafts industry for tourism trade and export.

In line with NEPAD and ECOWAS objectives, Mrs Katsriku said activities to be pursued included the forging of cooperative partnerships, prioritising consumer safety and security issues, marketing African tourism products, increasing regional coordination of tourism initiatives and developing specialized consumer targeted marketing campaigns.

Mrs Katsriku said: "The tourism industry, perhaps more than any other economic sector has the potential to provide a wide range of opportunities and benefits to Ghanaians."

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