The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) has urged the empowerment of the private sector to spearhead the development and maintenance of tourism infrastructure, as part of strategic plans to revamp the sector to promote arrivals and create jobs.
GHAToF said the tourism and hospitality industry presented Ghana a fine opportunity to attract more visitors from across the globe to visit the country, which eventually would boost the local economy.
It had, therefore, embarked on an extensive advocacy programme, over the last few months, to discuss the state of the country’s tourism infrastructure and its negative impact on the growth and development of the sector.
The advocacy programme has been supported by the BUSAC Fund and its Development Partners, DANIDA and USAID, to draw the Government’s attention to the deplorable tourism infrastructure.
The hospitality and tourism industry had over the years, been a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product.
However, over the years, the tourism infrastructure had not seen much facelift or enhancement to ensure growth and development.
Due to lack of maintenance culture, many of these infrastructures were in a deplorable state.
“Many interesting tourism and attraction sites were equally in appalling conditions, making them lose their values of attraction,” it said.
“The roads leading to our various tourist destinations are equally in a horrible state which made internal travels very difficult, hindering growth.
“Consequently, GHATOF is embarking on this advocacy programme, which is deemed to be critical to the development of the industry
“Ghana Tourism Federation believes that the way forward is to continue to advocate the development and growth of the tourism sector by drawing the attention of the government and stakeholders to create an ambient environment to ensure tourism becomes a major source of job creation and poverty reduction”.
The Ghana Tourism Federation (Ghatof) is the umbrella body of the various private trade associations, such as the Ghana Hotels Association, Tour Operators Association, Ghana Chefs Association, Tourism Society of Ghana, Tour Guide Association of Ghana, and many others.
Meanwhile, the Government has secured a nine-million-dollar World Bank facility towards developing tourism sites and building the capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises in the sector.