PEEPING INTO THE REALIGNED MINISTRY OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS

In the year 2013, H.E. the President of the Republic of Ghana realigned the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts by Executive Instrument E.I. 2013. This expanded the Ministry’s mandate to include culture and creative arts. The objective was to mainstream culture and creative arts into the national development agenda by using the two as drivers to propel the growth of returns from the tourism sector.

 

Following the realignment, a number of steps have been undertaken to make the Ministry relevant to its numerous stakeholders. The Ministry is presently providing a “one stop shop” Accra Visitor Information Centre to service the information needs of tourists and the general public. The facility, which is about 90% complete, is located close to the Afrikiko Leisure Gardens in Accra.

In line with corporate governance principles, the Boards of Directors of the Ghana Tourism Authority, the Ghana Tourist Development Company Ltd, the National Commission on Culture as well as that of the National Theatre of Ghana have been inaugurated to provide policy direction to ensure the realisation of the corporate objectives of the agencies mentioned.

As part of product development, seven (7) tourist receptive facilities are being constructed to enhance tourist visitation at Salaga, Gwollu, Axim, Kpetoe, Agogo, Saltpond and Wli. The projects will promote livelihood opportunities for the local people and increase investment in tourism-related SMEs

In a bid to provide a mechanism to guide the development and promotion of Culture and the Creative Arts, whilst providing stakeholders with a safety net to protect their creative works and investment, a Legal and Regulatory Committee was inaugurated in 2013 to develop the legal framework for the Creative Arts sector. It will also be in line with the Government’s policy of making Culture and Creative Arts a viable sub-sector to become a major contributor to local and national socio-economic development.

The Committee was mandated to review and harmonize all existing regulations and legislations with the object of strengthening and enhancing the role of the Culture and Creative Industry in national development. It was also to provide an inventory of all legislations and regulations to form the basis for expanding the current Culture and Creative Industry scene to include, but not limited to, visual arts, performing arts, music, entertainment activities, architecture, etc.

Other tasks assigned the Committee included Identifying gaps and challenges associated with the existing regulations and legislations and proposing measures to overcome them, as well as determining mechanisms to be used to monitor, evaluate and enforce the Copyright regime in the Culture and Creative Arts Industry.

The Committee has completed its work and a draft report has been produced for stakeholder consultation. In a similar vein, a technical committee has completed work on the draft Cinematography Bill awaiting Cabinet approval.

Efforts are underway to source for Turkish Exim Bank Facility for the construction of a multi-purpose Theatre, Shopping Mall and Hotel in Kumasi. This project is expected to create an estimated 1,500 jobs for construction workers at the construction stage. When operational, it will create additional 5000 direct and indirect jobs.

To help diversify activities on the Ministry’s calendar of events and to increase job-creation opportunities for the youth, the Ministry in partnership with the Ghana Society, the High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, and the UK Centre for Carnival Arts has introduced the Accra Carnival to stimulate the local economy and tourism enterprises. The 3rd edition of the event is scheduled to take place from June 27th-29th, 2014.

The Ministry has declared the year 2014 as a “Year of Tourism”, with emphasis on domestic tourism. To achieve this, the Ministry in collaboration with the Graphic Communications Group Limited and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation has introduced a programme dubbed “Explore Ghana”. The project seeks to inculcate the travel habit and mainstream tourism as a major activity among Ghanaians.

Domestic Tourism can reinforce Ghanaians’ appreciation of our rich culture, heritage and natural endowments and foster national cohesion, unity and peace. The movement of tourists within the country can help create income earning opportunities for residents of rural communities and help alleviate poverty through the sale of arts and craft items, provision of hospitality services and tour guiding services and others.

Admittedly, there are challenges confronting the sector. These include low recognition of the sector as a major contributor to the national economy; inadequate budgetary allocation for effective development and promotion of tourism, culture and creative arts products; inadequate data on the sector; difficulty in securing lands for Tourism and Cultural projects; poor sanitation and unhygienic conditions of some tourist facilities.

It is the expectation that steps that are being taken to address these challenges will have the support of all stakeholders. Some of these measures include engaging corporate bodies to support tourism and cultural programmes & events; working with relevant agencies to simplify and clarify incentives and concessions for investors in the sector and engaging stakeholders to improve data collection and analysis for end-users.

Other measures include creating land banks to promote private sector investments; implementing the Marine Drive Tourism Enclave Project (from the Osu Klottey Lagoon  to the Accra Community  Centre); collaborating with Embassies to celebrate National Days and Weeks in Ghana and abroad to showcase Ghanaian arts and culture; expanding existing cultural infrastructure (museums, cultural centers, regional theatres); increasing the performance of the sector through improved legislation, regulation and governance; improvement of collection, and creation of new sources of IGF; collaborating with MDAs, MMDAs, Traditional Authorities and the Private Sector to address sanitation challenges.

The tourism, culture and creative arts sector is a multi-faceted one which requires the support of MDAs, MMDAs, Donor Agencies, Civil Society, Local Communities, Corporate Ghana and the Private Sector. Given the needed support, the sector will drive the national economy in terms of job creation, income generation and poverty reduction.

 

BOAKYE-BOATENG PRINCE

HEAD, PUBLIC RELATIONS

MINISTRY OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS

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