The Minister of Tourism and Modernisation, Dr Awal Mohammed has cut sod for the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park which is expected to be completed in March 2023.
The rehabilitation project, supported under the World Bank Tourism Development Project at the cost of $ 3 million, entails the total rehabilitation of the Mausoleum and Museum, the building of a new Presidential library, a 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.
Speaking at the ceremony on Tuesday, Dr Awal Mohammed said the general solemnity of the Park would not be compromised and when completed, would create over 50 additional direct jobs and many indirect jobs.
The park when completed, he said, would befit the status of Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and give recognition to Ghana’s other founding fathers: Edward Akuffo-Addo, Arko Adjei, Obetsebi Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta and J.B. Danquah.
That, according to the Minister, would 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.
Arts, culture and heritage, Dr Mohammed stressed, must not be viewed as a limitation of expression and display of customs, practices and values passed on but as a powerful tool of creativity, skills and talents that has the potential to create wealth and prosperity for the citizens.
Before the covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was registering an average of 98,000 visitors annually.
But the Minister anticipated that the number of visitors to the Park after completion would increase to 400,000 visitors. “This requires that we put in place a strategic plan to promote the Park locally and internationally,” he stated.
The launch of the Year of Return, Beyond the Return and Destination Ghana initiated by President Akufo-Addo, had helped to position Ghana as the destination of choice among the Historical and African diaspora.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the resumption of international travels, the government is anticipating about one million international arrivals this year with a corresponding tourism receipt of over USD$2 Billion.
Dr Mohammed said an enhanced customer care orientation was needed which required that all players along the tourism value chain be customer-focused so that we have repeat tourism.
“A delighted tourist whether local or international will not only visit again but will also encourage others to visit,” he stated.
Ghana is at the centre of the world where it does not only have a majority of UNESCOs listed forts and castles but is also home to some of the best flora and fauna in some of the most exquisite eco-tourism sites of the world, as well as the taste of some of the richest and diverse cultures o the world.
Dr Mohammed said Ghana’s reliance on the export of cocoa and gold alone to support national development was not feasible and that there was an urgent need to diversify the country’s export earnings and “tourism and the creative arts come in handy.
The country’s earnings from gold and cocoa do not exceed USD$4 billion meanwhile tourism and the creative arts could rake in over USD4 billion annually if the sectors’ attractions are well packaged and promoted.
In line with this, the Minister said his outfit would soon embark on the rehabilitation and modernization of other tourism and heritage assets including the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Mole Park, Shai Hills and Kakum Park to enhance these iconic sites.
The Deputy Director of the World Bank, the daughter of President Nkrumah, Samia Nkrumah, the diplomatic Corps, Chiefs, the Minister of Information, the Roads and Highways Minister and other important dignitaries were in attendance to grace the occasion.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD