The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, on Wednesday formally met members of the various governing boards of the Ministry’s implementing agencies in Accra.
The meeting was to offer them the opportunity to bond and fraternize as a group in pursuit of the goal of positioning Ghana’s tourism, arts and culture properly on the global market, whiles developing the country as the preferred tourism destination in Africa.
It was also to provide them with the platform to get to know each other as a people, share ideas and discuss issues which would inure to the benefit of their various institutions.
Mrs Afeku said there were five policy objectives relevant to the Ministry namely; the mandate to diversify and expand the tourism industry for economic development, to intensify the promotion of domestic tourism, to promote sustainable tourism, to preserve historical, cultural and natural heritage to develop a competitive creative arts industry, and harness culture for national development.
She said the Ministry also existed to facilitate the interface between government, implementing bodies in tourism, arts and culture, as well as international and civil society partners.
Mrs Afeku said the vision of the Ministry was to develop sustainable tourism pivoted on Ghanaian arts and culture as the key driver to accelerate national development, while its mission is to create a conducive environment for sustainable growth and development of the sector.
This would enable it to contribute enormously to the Gross Domestic Product through effective and efficient use of appropriate policies, plans, programmes and projects, she said.
Mrs Afeku said the core functions of the Ministry was to formulate policy, plans and programme for the development and promotion of domestic regional and international tourism, arts and culture and promulgate legislations and regulations on same.
It also includes developing investment policies and incentives, and conduct research into regional and global trends and develop the human resource within the private and public sectors to effectively promote tourism, arts and culture.
“What is expected of you as members of governing boards is to provide the broad policy frame work for institutions and agencies to implement and this should correlate with the main objectives and vision of the Ministry,” she said.
Mrs Afeku said this year promised to be a hectic one for all in the Ministry and its allied agencies and that work would begin on the cocoa museum at Akuapim Mampong, as well as the upgrading and rehabilitation of 33 tourist sites across the country to improve their management and ensure value for money.
She said the Legislative Instrument on tourists’ sites and attractions had been approved by Cabinet adding that the Akwaba hotels project, a direct response to the lack of affordable accommodations across the country, would begin this year.
“The culture and creative arts sector would also receive a major boost this year. The hotel catering and training institute is also working to give it a facelift. The See, Feel, Wear and Eat Ghana initiative is also gaining acceptance even in the Diaspora.”
Mrs Afeku urged the boards to do advocacy on behalf of their institutions and carry out monitoring and evaluation to ensure that targets were met.
The 11 implementing agencies under the Ministry are the Ghana Tourism Authority, Ghana Tourist Development Company Limited, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, National Commission on Culture, National Theatre, W.E.B Dubois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, National Folklore Board, Hotel Tourism and Catering Centre, Bureau of Ghana Languages, and the Pan African Writers Association.