Financial institutions encouraged to fund tourism projects

By Naa Shormei Odonkor

Koforidua, April 10, GNA – Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has encouraged financial institutions to help fund tourism projects as a means of supporting hospitality development in the country.

He observed that most financial institutions did not have a special desk for tourism and hospitality as they had for other sectors because of a misunderstanding of the operations of the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Mr. Agyeman was speaking at the first quarter the of the Public and Private Partnership Forum (PPPF) held in Koforidua by the GTA on the theme: “Financial Empowerment for the Tourism and Hospitality Sector.”

The forum recorded over 140 participants from across the country, including the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, representatives from the Ghana Tourism Federation (GhaToF), and the Tour Guides Association, among others.

He noted that the sector operators were challenged with funding issues, which made it difficult to develop the tourism and hospitality sectors only with funding from the government.

However, he said, that the sector saw a steady rise of 57 per cent growth in year-on-year domestic tourism in 2023, which indicated an improvement in tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This improvement, he stated, resulted from the renovation of some tourist sites, such as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, which was the most visited tourist site last year.

“If we continue to improve upon our products and infrastructure, we can draw more people to visit these sites,” he said.

He mentioned seven major product improvement projects that are currently ongoing in the country, adding that some would be completed and commissioned for use by June this year.

The sites included the Salaga Slave Market, Salaga Slave Wells, Pikworo Slave Camp, Tanoboasi Sacred Grove, Denkyira Kyekyewere Eco Park, and the Nationalism and Peace Parks.

Mr. Charles Adu Gyamfi, the President of GhaToF, appealed to the government to allocate one per cent of the tourism levy to the tourism private sector for their operations and capacity building.

He also suggested the establishment of a PPPF secretariat to facilitate effective collaboration and regular interactions among stakeholders.