General News of Thursday, 2 February 2006
Agona-Swedru (C/R) Feb. 2, GNA - The Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City and its agencies on Thursday opened a two-day conference to review the performance of the tourism sector last year and to plan for this year.
About 40 participants drawn from the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) and officials from the Sector Ministry presented reports on their activities for last year and their challenges and made known their plan for this year.
Mrs Bridget Katsriku, Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, addressing participants said the review meeting was very important as it helped them to know their weaknesses and strengths and would help them to decide on what was left to be done for the year and years ahead.
She said the tourism industry was changing very fast and as leaders in their various sectors they needed to be abreast with key issues affecting the industry.
"This review meetings are also learning process for us," she said adding: "There should be a time to do self assessment since it is a good tool for both organizations and individuals."
Mrs Katsriku advised that each of them did a self-assessment of themselves to enable them to know their level of productivity and urged them to develop new ideas and higher levels of creativity and self-development.
Giving an overview of the performance of the Ghana Tourist Board, Mr Martin Mireku, Acting Executive Director of the Board, said the Board produced more than a thousand promotional materials to make it easier to market the country abroad.
He said a tourism directory was also produced in addition to tourist map for Tamale.
Mr Mireku noted that domestic tourism had improved with the formation of tourist clubs in schools and in some communities. Ms Fati Dakobu, Director of HOTCATT, said her organization's main objective was to update standard and turn out quality human resource in the tourism industry.
She said HOTCATT would endeavour to train more people and urged operators in the industry to employ qualified people.
Ms Victoria Manford, Director of GTDC, a leader in developing tourism infrastructure, mentioned high hotel bills in the country as one priority area her organization was tackling.
Lack of finance was a major problem mentioned by all the agencies including the Ministry, which they identified as a major hindrance to the successful implementation of their programmes.
Included in the Ministry's plan for the year is upgrading the standard, quality and effectiveness of tourism marketing to reach the goal of increased tourist arrivals and receipts.
Another plan is to facilitate the development of a modern capital city for economic growth through trade, investment and tourism.