Tourism Minister Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has disclosed that revenue collection systems at key tourism sites and attractions within the sector will, from next year, be automated to maximize gains and investments made in the sector.
Currently, B&FT checks show that almost 100 percent of revenue collection at tourist attractions are done manually with no form of automation. But Dr. Awal, addressing the media at a recently held editors’ forum in Accra, said strides are being made to fully automate revenue collection through cashless systems at all tourism sites across the country.
“Implementation of automated revenue systems will soon start at the newly renovated Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and the National Museum; and this feat will be replicated nationwide at other attractions,” he said.
Countries, including Kenya and Tanzania, have successfully implemented automated systems of revenue collections at tourism attractions.
In Tanzania, for instance, it is illegal to pay physical cash at tourism attractions as all payments are made through designated money wallets or payment cards with electronically-generated receipts. This allows for effective collection and halts possible embezzlement.
Dr. Awal believes the country’s future tourism revenue targets will be met through similar revenue mobilisation initiatives as in Kenya and Tanzania.
The forum, among other things, deepened the existing partnership between the ministry and the media as participants discussed key policies of the sector and asked questions on how the industry should be supported to thrive.
This year, the ministry and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) are anticipating an estimated tourism revenue of US$3.4billion against the US$2billion realized in 2022.
Having an agenda to bring in about two million domestic and international arrivals by 2025 with a corresponding revenue of US$5billion, the ministry is anticipating a closer collaboration among private sector players to achieve the set targets.
Next year, the ministry plans to commence modernization works on the Dubious Centre, Osu Castle, Bonwire Kente Museum, Busia Roundabout, Danquah Circle as well as the construction of Heroes Park for the Big Six and heritage attractions at Kyebi and Saltpond to deepen arrivals and offer options to travelers.
As part of investments in infrastructure, Dr. Awal said a key target is to make the country a hub for meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) in the sub-region.
The value of MICE on the continent is estimated at almost US$1.5trillion; however, Ghana remains unprepared to make a statement in this sub-sector which constitutes business tourism.
“We’ll soon engage key stakeholders to leverage the MICE market in Africa to enable Ghana benefit from a slice of this market. The country has all necessary parameters – including safety and stability – to champion this to boost tourism revenue,” Dr. Awal assured.