The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has recorded 500,000 visitors in the first half of this year, out of the 1.2 million tourists targeted by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
On a quarterly basis, 500,000 is more than a 50 percent increase over the 247,834 visitors recorded in the first quarter of 2023 – and indicates a significant rebound for a sector that was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic
Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the GTA, speaking in Accra at an editors’ forum under the auspices of the sector ministry, said the authority and ministry are optimistic of surpassing the overall international arrivals target.
The ministry and GTA are anticipating an estimated tourism revenue of US$3.4 billion against the US$2 billion realised in 2022.
The forum sought to deepen partnerships between the ministry and media, and to discuss key policies of the sector in order to get media support.
“We have unveiled some of the events for this year’s ‘December in GH’, and preparations are already ongoing with processes for visa acquisition, sanitation maintenance and several stakeholder engagements. We are certain that by end of 2023 the visitor target will be achieved,” Agyeman said.
The targets, which look ambitious according to Agyeman, are achievable by year end considering the current visitor-turnouts and rate at which the tourism year is shaping up.
Sector minister, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal explained that the country’s ambitious tourism drive, christened ‘Destination Ghana’, is still in full flight and will need key support from the media to thrive.
He said through this strategy, the sector seeks to bring in about two million domestic and international arrivals by 2025 with a corresponding revenue of US$5 billion.
“Our strategy is simple. It is to design approaches that will make each tourist spend an average of US$3,000 in the economy, coupled with the numbers we are anticipating,” Awal said.
As part of the strategy, government through the ministry is targeting and has started modernising key tourism facilities – of which the National Museum and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park are part.
“Next year, we’ll modernise the Dubois Centre, Osu Castle, Bonwire Kente Museum, Busia Roundabout and Danquah Circle; construct a Heroes Park for the Big Six and heritage attractions at Kyebi and Saltpond to deepen arrivals and offer options to travellers,” Awal disclosed.
With over 20 international airlines connecting from Ghana, Dr Awal said Ghana is poised more than ever to continuously make statements in the sector across the sub-region.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who was the special guest at the forum, appealed for editors to throw more light on the sector to improve private participation.
“The media has a role to play in further widening Ghana’s tourism potential to the world. We must make a conscious effort to ensure this,” he appealed.