Dr Ibrahim Awal, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture has announced that the government will build a museum at Yendi as part of efforts to repackage the cultural assets of Dagbon to boost tourism in the area.
He said “It is the State of Dagbon and when people go there, there should be a narrative of Dagbon. So, we want to do a museum there. So, we will build a museum with all the cultural assets that Dagbon has, and we will be looking at the music and festivals of Dagbon and northern Ghana and develop them into tourist attractions.”
He added that “This will attract both Ghanaians and foreigners to help create jobs for our people and bring a lot of foreign exchange.”
Dr Awal announced this in an interaction with journalists in Tamale after touring some tourism sites in the Northern Region including the Greenwich Meridian site at Yendi, the German Gravesite also at Yendi, and the tomb of the Commander of the Dagomba fighters in the Adibo Battle with the Germans in 1896 at Adibo, a town in the Yendi Municipality.
He further paid courtesy calls on the Ya-Na Abukari (II), Overlord of Dagbon at his palace at Yendi, the Northern Regional Minister at his office in Tamale as well as met with the tourism sector operators in Tamale to discuss how to improve their operations to boost tourism in the country.
The tour formed part of the Minister’s engagement to go round the entire country to identify tourist attractions, develop them into iconic sites, and make them attractive to both domestic and international tourists to create jobs and money for the people.
Dr Awal also spoke about the film and music industry in the north saying “We want to develop the film and music industry in the north because it is big. We want to have stakeholders’ discussion, identify their challenges and fix them for the benefit of the tourism sector.”
He said the government was working hard to promote domestic tourism adding “We want to encourage Ghanaians to move around the country to experience our culture and tourism attractions. When you move around, you will get to know the country very well, we are cementing national unity and cohesion, and energising the local economy because you will spend.”
About 670,000 people are currently employed in the country’s tourism, arts, and culture sector, however, the government is determined to increase the number to over one million by next year through aggressive development of the tourism, arts, and culture sector.
Dr Awal said the government would develop two tourism sites in each region of the country into iconic sites to drive domestic tourism.
He emphasised that “Tourism must be the number one contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
We will keep improving the cultural and tourism assets of the country. So, the government desires to make tourism, arts, and culture the number one contributor to GDP contributing over five billion dollars within the next few years to create over one million jobs.”
Ya-Na Abukari (II) commended the Minister for taking steps to develop tourism attractions in the region, saying it would boost domestic tourism.
Members of the Hotels Association, at a meeting with the Minister, called for a reduction of taxes imposed on hotel operators to enable them to expand their operations and pay their workers.
Mr Cosmos Alhassan, Northern Regional Chairman of the Hotels Association, said the high number of taxes imposed on hotels in the country made it difficult for operators to break even.
Other stakeholders also appealed to the Minister to find help to find a solution to the ailing film and music sector in the region.