The government’s plan to commit over GH¢400 million to provide new tourist attraction sites and renovate existing ones is in the right direction.
We even think any time it is feasible, a larger amount should be invested in the attractions because the tourism sector in the country continues to prove its potential in revenue mobilisation and job creation.
In 1993, a ministry, the Ministry of Tourism, was set up to to give policy direction to tourism and since 1996, the sector has seen significant growth.
By way of jobs, it was estimated that by the end of the year 2000, tourism would employ more than 100,000 Ghanaians in direct and indirect jobs and more in the years ahead.
This happened such that in 2015, the tourism industry had employed 393,000 people directly and indirectly in hotels, restaurants, travel trade, entertainment, recreational, tourist sites and the like.
While speaking at the maiden launch of this year’s Domestic and Outbound Tourism Survey (DOTS) in Winneba, in the Central Region in April, Professor Samuel K. Annim, the Government Statistician, said among other things that revenue from tourist arrivals would create over 1.4 million jobs for the citizenry by 2027.
Even though an expert has spoken, we can conjecture that the number can rise if the right decisions and actions are taken.
On the revenue side, tourism has grown to become Ghana’s third largest foreign exchange earner after gold and cocoa and efforts are on course to make it the first.
In terms of Gross Domestic Product, it is on record, for instance, that in 2021, the travel and tourism sector contributed around $3.1 billion, showing an increase of $1billion over the 2020 figure of $2.1 billion.
We can see the huge job and revenue potential the tourism sector holds and the efforts being made by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to grow the sector.
We are encouraged by the growth in domestic tourism propelled by the private sector, considering the fact that the 588,946 domestic arrivals recorded in 2021 rose to 937,087 in 2022.
Our appeal is that everything planned for the growth of the sector will be upheld unless changing circumstances dictate otherwise yet for its betterment.
The pledge by the government to continuously give the necessary support to create an enabling environment for the sector and the broader economy to flourish and make the country Africa’s tourism hub is a daunting task but can be made easy if the plans in place are followed.
The potential of the tourism sector is huge in the
socio-economic scheme of things in the development of the country.
Imagine the sector ministry achieving its 2023 projected $3.4bn revenue from 1.2m inbound visitors and next year target of having two million tourist arrivals, with each tourist spending an average of $3,000, which will generate $6 billion for the country.
The shift from the country’s over-reliance on commodities such as gold, timber and cocoa being caused by tourism is a very good phenomenon.
It is a loud a hailing of the fact that the country must look at every sector that has the potential to help it diversify the economy and enhance its development.