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General News of Friday, 29 May 2020


$3.3bn revenue from Year of Return cannot be true - Ablakwa challenges Tourism Minister

Ranking Member on Parliament Ranking Member on Parliament

A claim by Tourism Minister, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, that the Year of Return campaign introduced by government boosted tourism receipts by $3.3 billion in 2019 has been contested.

Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said in the absence of credible data, the Minister’s figure is contestable.

“We are not vigorous with the data,” Mr. Ablakwa told Accra-based Citi FM.

Speaking in Parliament on the campaign that was launched in 2018 to Parliament on Thursday, the Tourism Minister described its local and global impact of the Year of Return as “unimaginable”.

“By the end of the year, international arrivals reached 1.13m, from 956,372 in 2018, a 27 percent growth, which was above the global average of 5 per cent. The average expenditure per tourist increased from $2,708 in 2018 to US$2,931 in 2019. The receipts attributed to tourism is, therefore, $3.3bn,” she said.

Reacting to these figures, Mr. Ablakwa, who is opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s MP for North Tongu, told Citi FM that, “we are just all over the place and you say that on the average, the tourists have spent $2,931 and yet you’re multiplying that by the global sum of 1.13 million. All those who travelled in 2019 including MPs, traders, journalists, etc, you’ve lumped all that figure and you’re telling us that this is the gains from the year abroad.”

He wants the minister to return to parliament to present a more impressive account of the Year of Return campaign.

“Ministers have to be thorough. We need to take data seriously so that we can plan. A very laudable initiative and yet, we don’t seem to have captured any credible data that we can work with. This is really unfortunate,” Mr. Ablakwa said.