SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS, HON. ELIZABETH OFOSU-ADJARE AT THE GRAND LAUNCH OF THE DOMESTIC TOURISM PROMOTION PROJECT WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014

MR CHAIRMAN
COLLEAGUE MINISTERS OF STATE,
HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT,
MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
NII MEI, NAA MEI
THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, GRAPHIC COMMUNICATIONS GROUP
THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, GHANA BROADCASTING CORPORATION
THE PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVES OF THE GHANA TOURISM FEDERATION
DIRECTORS AND STAFF OF THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS AND ITS IMPLEMENTING AGENCIES
DISTINGUISHED PRACTITIONERS AND PLAYERS OF THE TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS SECTOR
THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT AND WOMEN AGLOW INTERNATIONAL
TOURISM CLUBS AND LADIES ASSOCIATIONS
TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
FRIENDS FROM THE MEDIA
DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

It is a great day and pleasure for me to be here this morning on the occasion of the launch of ‘Explore Ghana’ the Domestic Tourism Promotion Project which is a collaboration enterprise involving the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Creative Arts, and its implementing agencies, the Graphic Communication Group Limited, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the Tourism Private Sector and other Stakeholders.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important to mention that, tourism is a strong pillar of the Ghanaian economy, recording 993,600 international tourist arrivals with corresponding receipts of 1.704 billion USD in 2012. It provided employment for 359,000 workers in Ghana. It is estimated that by 2027, Ghana will be receiving 4.3 million tourists with corresponding receipts of 8.3 billion USD.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these gains, however impressive they may be, represent only a fraction of the potential socio-economic benefits Ghana can derive from Tourism, if underpinned by a vibrant and a dynamic domestic tourism component.
Domestic Tourism or Internal Tourism can reinforce Ghanaians appreciation of our rich culture, heritage and natural endowments and foster national cohesion, unity and peace. The movements 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.
Statistics on domestic tourism indicate that interregional movements are currently taking place within Ghana. Educational and Social Clubs continue to organize group tours from their institutions to other parts of the country.
As I speak, a group of ninety seven (97) students of the Ghana International School, Cantonments, accompanied by their teachers, are on a one week tour of the Eastern and Ashanti Regions. Similar examples abound all over the country, but more is required.
Distinguished Quest, the ‘Explore Ghana’ Project seeks to inculcate the travel habit and mainstream tourism as a major activity among Ghanaians. We hope to achieve this by vigorously promoting the country’s tourist attractions and showcasing aspects of Ghana’s cultural heritage and its creative arts products and services.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry in conjunction with  other Government Ministries, Municipal and District Assemblies and other stakeholders are making tourist sites accessible. For example the Fulfuso-Damongo road in the Northern Region is being reconstructed into a first class asphaltic surface road to link the Northern and Upper West Regions through Damongo. Travel to Mole National Park will therefore be greatly enhanced when the project is completed.
Similarly, the construction of the Eastern Corridor Road will facilitate travel to the Mid Volta Region where, Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and the Tagbo waterfalls are located.
I therefore wish to urge all Institutions, NGO’s Municipal and District Assemblies, Traditional Authorities and Civil Societies organisations to get actively involved in the development and promotion of the Tourism resources of their districts. This would enrich the tour options available to Ghanaian domestic tourists and further spread the benefits of tourism to all corners of the country.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts has declared 2014 as the year for tourism with emphasis on Domestic Tourism. The sector has lined up series of events throughout the year, to further boost domestic tourism activities. Among these are the Kwahu Paragliding festival, the Grand Homowo Celebration dubbed “HOMOFEST” and the Ghana Carnival in Accra.
Also the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is reviving the Public Holidays Recreational Programmes in all the ten regions of Ghana.  In this connection, the GTA will organize the La Pleasure Beach Meet-Me-there, the Kumasi Gye-Wani at the Centre for National Culture, Kumasi and the holiday activities at the Takoradi Beach and the Tanokrom in Sunyani, when the Sunyani theatre is completed.
Furthermore the GTA is encouraging social and tourist clubs to participate in the various traditional festivals that are celebrated throughout the year in Ghana. We therefore wish to encourage Corporate Bodies to embrace staff incentive travel within Ghana as one of the motivational packages employees can enjoy.
Churches and religious groups are also urged to encourage the various groupings within their assemblies to engage in domestic travels. The grottos, historical mosques, missionary schools and hospitals all point to the deep religious roots of Ghanaians and could be veritable tourist attractions.
In all these preparation, the Ministry will be ready to assist any group of people who want to embark on domestic tourism.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts is developing a friendly and interactive website that will provide regular updates on tourism in Ghana to facilitate domestic travels.
Again, you are all encouraged to look out for adverts in the Graphic and the Mirror News Papers for monthly publications on selected attractions across the Country that the Ministry will organize and facilitate tours to, and we also encourage individual organisations who can organize themselves to join us on these trips to do so.
I wish at this juncture to thank our major collaborators the Graphic Communications Limited and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and all other stakeholders and Voltic mineral water for their support and contribution.
We are confident that together, we can bring Ghanaians and Ghanaian residents to explore beautiful Ghana, to realize the desired socio-economic benefits.
On this note, I declare the Domestic Tourism Promotion Project duly launched.
I thank you for your presence and attention.

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