President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said his government will leverage on the development and promotion of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage to showcase the best of Africa to the world.
Emphasising on his government’s commitment to revamping and promoting the tourism sector, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana is on course to achieving the target of two million international arrivals by 2024, and generate some $4 billion to the national economy.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Ghc30 million renovated and modernised Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park (KNMP) on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo reassured of government’s target at increasing the Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP from five percent to 10 percent, as well as, attract five million tourists arrivals in the next five years.
In the first quarter of this year (2023), tourism numbers grew by 47 percent, from 170, 000 same last year, to 247, 000 tourist arrivals.
The President charged the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority to step up their promotion activities to achieve the set target.
He said a delighted tourist, whether local or international, would not only visit again but would also encourage others to visit.
In addition to the thousands of jobs to be created along the tourism value chain, President Akufo-Addo said he is confident that objective can be achieved.
The President urged the Tourism Ministry and the Ghana Tourism Authority to leverage on the Year of Return, Beyond the Return and Destination Ghana he initiated to help position Ghana as the destination of choice.
A year ago, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Awal Mohammed, cut the sod for the rehabilitation and modernisation of the KNMP, which was expected to be completed in March, this year.
The newly commissioned KNMP, entails the refurbished Mausoleum and Museum, a new Presidential library, new training centre, a new restaurant, a VVIP Lounge, an Artistic Freedom wall and a Music and Light Fountain to boost night tourism at the Park.
President Akufo-Addo said the newly renovated and modernised KNMP, befits the status of the celebrated Ghanaian first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who was a pillar of Pan-Africanism and championed the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism.
He said the KNMP, which was built in 1991 and opened to the public by the government of President Jerry John Rawlings in 1992, “had not seen any renovation since then, resulting in significant deterioration of the edifice.”
President Akufo-Addo indicated the number of visitors to the Park after its completion, would increase to about 400,000. “This requires that we put in place a strategic plan to promote the Park locally and internationally.
The renovation of the KNMP, will further concretise the Pan-African Triangular Centre: George Padmore Library, WEB Du Bois Centre for Pan-Africanism and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park; thereby consolidating Ghana’s position as the foremost Centre of Pan Africanism and diaspora research.
The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, on his part said Ghana would use its heritage and political tourism to position itself as the preferred and attractive tourism destination on the continent.
“Very soon, the Du Bois Centre will be modernised, next year, the Osu Castle, will be modernised and we are going to link all this; Kwame Nkrumah Park, Osu Castle, the National Museum and Padmore Library with our Forts and Castles to position Ghana as a tourist attraction in Africa.”
Dr Awal said if Ghana should continue on the same path over the next three years, tourism would generate between six and seven billion dollars per anum to the national economy.
“Mr President, your government will go down in history as the government that has undertaken the biggest investment in the tourism industry,” he stated.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD