Private sector tourism players urged to submit development proposals

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Mr. Emmanuel Frimpong, President, Africa Tourism Research Network (ATRN), has urged private sector tourism players to work together on proposals for the sector’s development and areas for government’s urgent focus.

He said they must also help identify some of the training needs of the sector that government must focus on, saying these would help to boost the sector and generate enough revenue for the country.

“Government has its responsibility, especially through its agencies, but the private sector must be seen to be working to ensure that together we have the right infrastructure, and the right people, at the right places to ensure to achieve our targets. It becomes much easier for the private sector to also do their bit.”

He said, “they must be seen to be driving the sector and not leaving it to the government. The private sector should also be making inputs into the annual tourism budget, so that we get enough money allocated for the sector.”

Speaking on the backdrop of the Presidential Summit on Tourism, held at the Peduase lodge in May, Mr Frimpong said it had been almost a month since the summit and they were yet to see any reports on the way forward.

He said the first step was for a small team to work on the implementation plan and look at some of the actionable points.

He said, “we appreciate the resources, time and everything that went into the organisation of the summit. It is a good programme, and all sector players were represented with different perspectives to issues. But what happens from there.”

“I hope this is not one of those programmes we organise and then we all go asleep. Tourism is about arts, culture, and tourism itself, and all actors must see tourism as the way to go. If we can pay much attention to it, most of our issues would be dealt with, but what we do not have is the political will and the support needed beyond this talk and that is what we do not see in the industry.”

Mr Frimpong said there should be political will, passion, commitment, and desire from both government and private sector because if both parties were not committed or passionate about tourism all these talks would not yield any results.

“Because we would just come and talk, and it ends there. There must be that political will to see to it that everything will be documented, and a team must be held responsible for its implementation. If we cannot implement what we have discussed, then there is no point.”

Mr Frimpong also urged other players in the industry to engage the private sector in their will to promote Ghana in and out of the country.

“They must involve the private sector in their bid to attract people into the country to invest. Investing in the hospitality sector is very capital intensive that if there are no incentives for them no one Will be interested in investing in this area.”

“An institution like the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre should be working with the private sector and looking for incentives that would attract foreign direct investment into the tourism and hospitality sector.”

He also urged private sector players to unite and work in the interest of all players for the development of the sector and the country at large, saying “if they cannot do that there is very little that government can do to support them.”

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