The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, has called on all stakeholders in the tourism sector to collaborate with the ministry to promote domestic tourism.
According to her, it has become apparent that domestic tourism should be promoted since the country cannot depend solely on international tourism, considering the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the local tourism sector.
“This year, we were faced with the challenge of COVID-19 and all borders were closed. There were no flights coming in and international tourists could not come and experience Ghana and this affected the gains in the tourism sector,” she said.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi, who was speaking at the inauguration of the new Odweanoma Paragliding Field, reiterated the need to sell Ghana first to Ghanaians for them to love their country and experience it in its totality.
She said following that Ghanaians would also sell the country to the international community, thereby boosting international tourism through domestic tourism to the country’s advantage.
The Ministry of Tourism has upgraded the paragliding field with facilities, including the expanded take-off points, a new entrance post, fenced event ground, paved area, enclosed VIP catering area, resurfaced viewing partition area and installation of new Polytank-branded water tanks.
Busts of Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, once the Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City and his special assistant, Ferdinand Ayim, both of blessed memory, as well as a roll of honour for them and others were unveiled in recognition of their contributions to the development and growth of paragliding sports at Kwahu Atibie.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi noted that the improvement of the paragliding sites demonstrated the Ministry’s commitment to the development of paragliding as an tourism activity in the country.
“A strong collaboration between all players is vital in creating a conducive environment for other tourist attractions and activities to be identified, packaged and promoted to complement the Paragliding Festival and make the Kwahu Ridge an all year-round tourism destination,” she said.
She said tourism could impact positively on the socio-economic fortunes of the country and called on all stakeholders to work together to ensure that expected gains were realised for the benefit of all, stressing the need to develop all rural areas through tourism to create employment and reap revenue for the country.
She expressed her appreciation to the Chiefs of Kwahu, district assemblies and the Kwahu Professional Network for their contributions towards boosting tourism in the country and assured them of their fair share of tourism investment opportunities of the “Beyond the Return” project.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ayettey, called on communities with identifiable and potential tourist sites to collaborate with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to promote tourism in their localities.
He said the time had come for the country to commit more resources to develop a more responsible, resilient and friendly tourism, which would foster and promote economic growth by putting all hands on deck.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, said the upgraded paragliding site, coupled with established hotels, would stimulate the demand for tourism and boost the tourism potential of the Kwahu area and the country at large.