Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal (left), Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, administering the oath to the board members of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). Picture: EBOW HANSON
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC), Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has inaugurated the 11-member Board of Directors of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), with a charge to the members to help build the culture of travel within the country.
“To do that, domestic tourism should be very key. Before the pandemic, just about 600,000 people were travelling within a year in Ghana. We think progressively we must have one million people travelling every year,” he said.
The board is also expected to oversee policy implementation and operational strategies of the GTA.
The GTA Board is chaired by Mr Charles Osei Bonsu, a nominee of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Other members include the Chief Executive of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman; the MoTAC representative, Mr John Yao Agbeko, and the representative of the Ministry of Finance, Ms Eva Esselba Mends.
The rest are Mr Samuel Seth Passah, Ms Fati Lily Soale, Mr Mohammed Abdul-Karim and Ms Cecilia Sheitu Nyadia, representatives of the ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Chieftaincy Affairs, Lands and Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Technology, respectively.
Also on the board are Mr Gbati Jacob Najombe, Ms Denta Amoateng and Ms Comfort Yamoah, all nominees of the President.
According to the minister, over one million international tourists visited the country in 2019, raking in $3.3 billion in revenue.
“We need an excess of 1.6 million people to give us $5 billion,” he added.
Dr Awal, therefore, entreated tourism stakeholders to improve customer service and care skills to make Ghana the most preferred tourism destination in West Africa.
He expressed the hope that the tourism sector would be the number one contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product in the not-too-distant future.
“It means that we must have an estimated $5 billion every year from tourism receipts from 2022. I have signed that contract with the President and the board must help me achieve that,” he said.
Dr Awal further entreated the board to work as a team to achieve the goals of the ministry and the GTA.
For his part, Mr Osei Bonsu expressed appreciation to the President for giving the members the opportunity and the mantle to serve on the board.
He pledged the commitment of the board to leverage their competencies to improve the tourism industry in the country.