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Minister urges GTB to ensure sustainable development of tourism   
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Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister of Tourism on Tuesday charged the 13-member Board of Ghana Tourists Board (GTB) to promote and market the sustainable development of the tourism industry.

She urged them to put in place the necessary mechanisms that would enable Ghana to reap maximum benefits from the sector.

Inaugurating the Board in Accra, Mrs Azumah-Mensah emphasized the need for members to serve as the main implementing agency of the Ministry.

She expressed concern about the absence of an advisory board for the GTB almost a decade ago.

She said the tourism industry played a key role in most economies and contributing largely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Our promotional efforts currently assure the country a contribution of almost 1.5 billion dollars in foreign exchange earnings, seven per cent to the GDP, while creating 300,000 direct formal employments across the country,” she added.

Mrs Azumah-Mensah said Ghana had emerged as a special African destination, steadily drawing people and visitors to experience her cultural diversity, history and natural endowments.

Referring to US President Barrack Obama’s visit to Ghana, she noted that the eyes of the world was on Ghana, especially as the country was preparing to host this year’s World Tourism Day celebration on the theme: “Tourism Celebrating Diversity.”

However, Mrs Azumah-Mensah said the industry had challenges that needed to be tackled, mentioning poor funding, weak infrastructural facilities and insufficient professional service delivery as well as the low appreciation of the benefits of tourism to the country’s economy.

She said GTB also lacked adequate professionally skilled human resource and logistics to make it effective in the regions and districts.

She pointed out that the persistent low budgetary provisions continued to hamper effectiveness in undertaking its mandate.

Mrs Azumah-Mensah pointed out that the new direction of taking tourism to various communities through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies called for capacity building to equip the staff with requisite skills nation-wide.

She announced that government was finalizing a bill that would help transform the Tourist Board into a Tourism Authority and urged members of the Board to contribute their quota to the programme.

Mr. Edem Kpodo, Board Chairman, called for support to enable members to perform efficiently and effectively.

He said the tourism industry could give the country limitless opportunities for wealth creation in export revenue, employment generation and infrastructural development, yet governments only paid lip service to the development of the industry.

Mr Kpodo said: “I see a great deal of capacity and talent in the members of the Board, our task is to harness these individual capacities to deliver on the attainment of the common good towards fulfilling the government’s vision on tourism development.”

Other members of the Board are; Ms Priscilla Arhin, Ms Diana Oye Ahene, Lt. Col. Dzotefe Mensah, Nana Adu Nsiah, Mr Nobert Kuwornu, Mrs Diana Hammond, Ms Theodora Tsagli, Mrs Lillian Bruce Lyle, Mr Julian Debrah, Mrs Stella Appenteng, Nana Adjei Twinin and Mr David Nana Anim.
Source: GNA

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