The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, aided by the Chief of Wassa Damang, Nana Amoakwa III, has cut the sod for the construction of the Damang Arts Training Centre.
The project, with funding support of 100,000 dollars from the International Development Association of the World Bank Group, is being implemented under the Ghana Tourism Development Project of the Ministry.
The ceremony forms part of activities to mark this year's world Tourism Day celebration.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said the project was in fulfilment of the Ministry's mandate to promote domestic tourism through harnessing local entrepreneurial abilities in the arts industry, especially in rural communities, for economic development.
She said a study conducted by the World Bank on "Improving Vocational Training and Skills Development Delivery Systems for the Tourism Sector in Ghana" in 2018 showed that entrepreneurship was an important mechanism for engaging youth in tourism.
The study further revealed that the youth and women in the country were more likely to engage in domestic tourism activities such as culinary enterprises, entertainment (dancers, musicians, singers) and vendors (craft, jewellery and bags).
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi, who is also the Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni-Valley, said the project, when completed, would engage youth and women in textiles designing, beads making, batik fabric, jewellery and other local artefacts.
It would harness local talents and entrepreneurship while positioning Damang as a preferred tourist destination in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality through high quality exhibitions of the natural resources in the area, she said.
The Minister said the Tourism and Arts sector fell under the service-product continuum and that capitalisation of the sector was paramount to enhance efforts at developing entrepreneurial and business management competencies.
"It is for this reason the Ministry, under the Ghana Tourism Development Project, is dedicating $ 4 million to support the local, small and medium enterprises as well as $1 million for their capacity building," she said.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said the urgency to create core competencies that met domestic and international markets could not be overemphasised and expressed the hope that the project would stand to achieve its set objectives.
She said the Creative Arts Bill, which was slated to be passed by the end of the year, would provide the necessary legal and institutional framework for the Arts sector.
Nana Amoakwa commended the Minister for the initiative and assured her of the traditional authorities' readiness to assist.