Government will invest over GHȼ400million in revamping the tourism sector next year, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed.
The amount, the minister explained, will be used to establish new tourist attraction sites such as museums, rehabilitate and upgrade existing attractions – including the Monkeys Sanctuary at Shai Hills, Mole National Park, Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, among many others across the country.
“At a more micro-level, next year, the government, in conjunction with our development partners, will commit over GHȼ400million to provide new tourist attractions in addition to renovating existing ones,” the minister announced in his keynote address at the Ghana Tourism Investment Summit 2023 held in Accra.
The move, the minister noted, is in line with an urgent need for increased funding and investment to support sustainable tourism practices and modern infrastructure while positioning the sector to contribute significantly to socio-economic development.
The tourism sector – arts, culture and hospitality – is a critical sector for the economy. Apart from providing sustainable jobs, tourism is the third contributor to the country’s gross domestic product and is projected to become the number one contributor to GDP in the next five years, if given the needed support.
While the government is committing to a transformative change in the sector, the minister acknowledged the role of private partnership in boosting growth, noting that tourism is government-led but private-sector-driven. “Ultimately, collaboration and partnerships are central to our approach to creating a more sustainable and resilient tourism sector.”
In this vein, he said government is open to working with potential investors to facilitate community-based tourism initiatives, provide training and capacity-building opportunities for local communities, and foster cultural preservation and heritage conservation.
“Achieving success will require the engagement of all stakeholders from the early stages of the planning process, ranging from developers, investors, legislators and policy-makers to community groups. Given the multiplier effects on economic growth, job creation and development, tourism will continue to be a fundamental pillar of the economy for the foreseeable future.
“Across the government, we will continue to do our part to create an enabling environment for the sector and the broader economy to flourish,” he reiterated.
He further highlighted potential for significant returns in the tourism space, citing the corresponding increase in average monthly revenue of GH¢1million (from GH¢3,000) from the refurbished Kwame Nkrumah National Park since July 2023.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Art, Dr. Ibrahim Mahammed Awal, underscored the need for more to be done in order to attract and deepen the sector’s growth and progress.
He added that with the target of two million tourists next year, the sector could rake in about US$6billion, given an average tourist spend of US$3,000.
“Ghana is a very attractive destination in terms of investment and not just tourism. Tourism is a propeller of economic growth, but we think we can get more tourist arrivals if we invest in our attractions.
“Next year, government is going to spend GH¢400million to modernize, innovate and provide new tourist attractions because our target next year is to get two million arrivals. Each tourist spends an average of US$3,000 so with that, we are close to getting US$6million,” he said.
Largely, he pointed out that Africa has huge tourism potential and that with adequate investment, the sector could contribute meaningfully to socio-economic development of the continent, stressing that “let’s look at Africa as a business, not just a continent”.
For his part, the Chairman of GUMA, an international investor, Robert Gumede, indicated that the resilience and potential of the sector cannot be underestimated, urging the country to take ownership of its resources, heritage and historical background and location, and exploit its benefits or else others will utilise them for their interests.
He also pledged support for the sector and the listed projects aimed at boosting tourism in the country while advising that the country invest in hospitality training to improve services.
“We are going to develop a mini sun city in Ghana. You [Ghana] have sound facilities but the service here is very low. The country has everything necessary and is indeed an investment destination,” he said.
Ghana Tourism Investment Summit 2023
The summit seeks to attract attention to Ghana and market its rich and diverse tourism investment opportunities by bringing together investors who are seeking avenues for tourism partnerships.
It is also aimed at promoting the country as an attractive Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) destination for global foreign investment in tourism; extending global integration of Ghana’s tourism trade and investment into a new global reality; and securing investment in diverse priority and emerging Ghanaian tourism business areas for mutual benefits.
The Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), the investment and infrastructural development wing of the ministry, has developed project profiles on opportunities that exist for investment.
Examples of these are the development of the Centre of the World Project, Air Charters and Chopper Services, Big Tree Tourist Site, Virtual Tourism Platforms, the Akwamu Gorge, the Assin Manso Slave River, Accra and Kumasi Zoos, Tourism Taxi Service, among others.
Chief Executive Officer of GTDC, Kwadwo Odame Antwi, said his outfit boasts a varied portfolio of potential investment opportunities that the private sector can take advantage of.