The unexpected infusion of funds and aggressive marketing by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in the last one and a half years has begun to pay off.
Among the returns made on these investments is Ghana winning the right to host the multi-million-dollar All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) in November this year.
In August, the iconic African-American personality and fashion magazine, Ebony, will tour Ghana to showcase the country as a prelude to the 400th anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, projecting Ghana as the place to be for the celebration.
The sector Minister, Mrs Catherine Ablemaa Afeku, disclosing this in an interview with the media in Accra, also maintained that the ministry had provided financial and logistical support for major creative arts initiatives, such as the Chaley Wote Festival and the just-ended Black Star International Film Festival.
On AFRIMA, she said representatives in the arts and entertainment industry from 55 African countries were expected to converge on Ghana for the final awards ceremony, which is organised by the AFRIMA Secretariat in Nigeria, with the collaboration of the African Union (AU).
There will be a build-up to the event with concerts in Morocco, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
On Ebony Magazine, she said the team would be in Ghana from August 21 to 31.
“It will be a full week of Ebony Magazine, shooting videos and taking photos at tourist sites and interviewing relevant personalities as a prelude to the 2019 celebration of 400 years of slavery,” she said.
The tour, she said, was happening as a result of the ministry’s aggressive publicity on the global media, Cable News Network (CNN).
“When people saw a country like Ghana, with the rich heritage of Cape Coast and Elmina, that feature alone got over eight million people asking questions on where Ghana is located, what is happening here, who the people are.
“Ebony is the biggest Black magazine around and its team will visit Elmina, Cape Coast, Kumasi and the du Bois Centre and that is a huge market for us in Ghana,” she added.
The ultimate for the ministry, she said, was traffic, such that the number of people coming to Ghana would extend the value chain because they would eat, drink and explore.
“If we have only two people coming, then there is no point, but if we have a million coming, then we will see the benefits,” she added.
Other activities of the ministry, Mrs Afeku said, included the first African Tourism Leadership Forum, saying that leaders of about six African countries had confirmed their participation, also in August 2018.
She said there was also the World Tourism Day, dubbed: “UNW2O celebration”, which would be held at Oti and the Kwahu paragliding site on September 27, 2018.
“We only do paragliding in Easter, but this time I want to change that, so that we have it twice a year on the calendar. We will do it in Easter and in September because there are a lot of people who go to watch it during Easter but we turn them away because it gets dark. We are going to try it in September and see the patronage and that will become a fixture on the calendar,” she said.
She also mentioned the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) 2018, which will be the first under this Presidency, as well as festivals such as the Bakatue, Ogua Fetu Afahye, Kundum, the Black Star International Festival and Chaley Wote.
Mrs Afeku said the ministry would, by the end of August, launch the See Ghana Magazine and Tourism TV which would project Ghana on the international market.
The magazine will feature tourist sites in Ghana, including airplanes, airports, embassies and high commissions outside Ghana.
The ministry, she said, would pick up major festivals in the 10 regions and factor them into its budgets for the coming years.
“The budget of this ministry must have some key festivals that are targeted to promote Ghana. So in every region we should have one major festival to rally around because we cannot support every festival in the budget. That makes it easier for planning. There must be an allocation specifically for them,” she added.