Ghana and the United States of America (USA) have committed to working together to promote and grow the tourism potentials that exist locally, as they continue to explore areas of investment in the sector for mutual benefit.
The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, at a meeting with a 30-member delegation from the USA led by the Mayor of Houston (USA) Mr. Sylvester Turner, who has committed to lead the face of tourism for Ghana in the USA.
To this end, he said, his outfit is seeking to create some 1.5 million jobs as part of the government agenda to make more jobs available.
“What Africa and Ghana need now is jobs for our young people. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, three out of every 10 jobs are created in the tourism sector.
“We need to invest in them. So, we want support to create win-win partnerships that lead to job creation. Our sector wants to add at least 1.5 million jobs every year to the president’s job creation agenda,” he said.
Speaking on investments, Dr. Awal stated: “Investing in the US should give you just about an 18 percent return, and Europe gives you about 22 percent while Africa gives you 90 percent return on investment. Tourism, hospitality, energy, agribusiness are key areas of investment and I look forward to my meeting with my team in Houston. By the grace of God, we will drive tourism and investment for the benefit of both Ghana and the city of Houston”.
He also stated that, hopefully, by 2025 Ghana will receive two million international tourists which translate into earnings of US$6billion- and this will move the tourism sector from number-three to number-one in terms of revenue to the state.
The US Ambassador of Tourism, Ambassador Turner, also speaking at the ceremony observed that Ghana constitutes a secure partnership with Houston in areas of trade which amount to US$240million annually.
“There are several reasons we are in Ghana. Number-one, Ghana represents a strong vital connection with the city of Houston. In terms of trade, our trade is about US$240million on an annual basis; and that has grown in the last decade by 16 percent.
“And so we expect that with a continuing relationship, the trade between Ghana and the city of Houston will exponentially grow; and we’re here to build on that relationship in this particular regard in terms of tourism,” he stated.
Furthermore, he said: “We certainly have a responsibility to do everything we can to not only encourage people to come to Ghana as tourists, but also encourage those who do business in our city to do business in Ghana, to invest in Ghana, to engage in greater trade with Ghana – not to come and take and leave, but to come to build positive relationships and establish a win-win and not win-losses”.
This, he said, will also be in addition to working on building a value chain that benefits those who are in the United States and want to do business in Ghana.