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Ghanaians have been asked to purchase and use African artefacts as a way of promoting tourism in the country.

Mr Stanley Felten, Chief Executive Officer of the African Art and Culture Development Company Limited (AACD), made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.

He said the artefacts industry had over the years, become an avenue for creating employment for the rural people by supporting those skilful in the sector to contribute to the development of the tourism industry.

By so doing it had helped to curb the increasing incidence of rural urban migration, he said.

Mr Felten said a survey recently conducted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry revealed that an average of 10 jobs were created for every 2,000 dollars earned in the tourism industry.

He said to develop and sustain the arts, craft and handicraft industry in Ghana, an attractive financial package was needed to be given to those in the business to equip them to deliver finished products that met international standards.

“Hardworking artisans who ensured that our homes and offices are well adorned with African carvings should be properly remunerated. The best way we can do this as individuals is to purchase and use their works,” he said.

Mr Felten said it was high time those who had the bad perception that arts and crafts were idols changed their minds and support the growth of the industry because of its socio-economic development potential.

“If we don’t use woven baskets as dustbins in the offices instead of plastic bins and don’t hang sculpture pieces in our homes and offices, we should not expect the foreigner to do same,” he said.

He said if Ghanaians bought and used the products themselves it would be easier for the country to sell its culture and promote the country’s tourism.

“Remember that by buying the product, you also contribute towards sustaining the artists and manufacturers as a whole,” he said.

Mr Felten said it was important to showcase corporate Ghana to the rest of the world through numerous rich arts and culture that the country was endowed with.

“We don’t have the best beaches, but we have the best African arts and cultural products to exhibit to the rest of the world. We have many chiefs and kings in the country and we need to showcase that,” he said.

Touching on the Independence Arch, Mr Felten said there was nothing inscribed or designed on the arch that portrayed the country’s culture, art or craft.

“This Arch is always used by the international media when they talk about Ghana, but there is nothing Ghanaian about it to promote tourism or our art and culture,” he said.

Mr Felten said as the country joined the world to celebrate the World’s Tourism Day, Ghanaians themselves needed to be the ‘walking and living museums’ of the country’s arts and culture to rake in the much needed foreign exchange to develop the nation.

“As the nation celebrates the World Tourism Day, we wish to make a clarion call on government and the people of Ghana to give the necessary prominence to this important industry in the economic equation and encourage individuals and organizations to invest in it,” he said.

Mr Alex Bedele, the Administrative Manager of AACD appealed to Ghanaians to buy African wares as gift hampers to their loved ones during special occasions to promote the growth of the art and craft industry.

He said AACD, popularly known as ‘African Market,’ was established in April 2001 to promote cultural development in Ghana, Africa and the world on the whole.

“African Market is more of an institution than a market because it harnesses great minds to work in a congenial atmosphere needed to promote the art industry in Africa with the corporate objective of adding a touch of African sophistication to every home or office in the world,” he said.

Mr Bedele said it was the aim of the company to ensure that local manufacturers in the industry derived maximum benefit from their products.

“As a result of this, products are bought directly from the local manufacturers thereby eliminating middlemen. Rural-urban migration is reduced as rural dwellers are motivated to remain in the villages,” he said.

Mr Bedele said the company, since its establishment, had made in-roads into the local market by organising Gift Fairs with the support of other exhibitors from Ghana and some neighbouring countries to showcase collections of African artefacts.

He said the company had also participated in various international fairs over the years in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Italy, Germany, France, Britain and in the United States.

Ghana is hosting this year’s Tourism Celebration from 22nd to 27th of September with the theme “Tourism, Celebrating Diversity.”

Delegates from 50 countries are expected in the country to participate in the activities organized to mark the celebration.

Events slated for the celebration include an exhibition at the Accra International Conference Centre, a gastronomy fair organized to promote indigenous Ghanaian cuisines and a Cocoa trail to Tetteh Quarshie’s original Cocoa farm in the Eastern Region.
Source: GNA

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