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General News of Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Source: GNA

Let's rejuvenate the tourism sector - Oboshie

Accra, May 27, GNA - Mrs. Oboshie Sai-Cofie, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, on Tuesday urged staff in the tourism sector to help rejuvenate the sector since tourism was the single most important thing that could help the country move from the poverty brackets. She said tourism offices in the country should make people "feel Ghana" by using made in Ghana curtains, flowers, chairs and other odjects that could be used to promote the country. Mrs. Sai-Cofie threw the challenge when she met staff of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), the main implementing agency of the Ministry, to have first hand knowledge about their operations, opportunities and challenges.

"We need to make people see and feel what we are doing and what is happening in the tourism industry," she said and urged the media to be a true partner with the tourism sector so that together tourism in Ghana would move forward as expected.

Mr. Martin Mireku, Acting Executive Director of the GTB, informing the Minister about their role, said the board did a lot of research and also ensured that standards sets were been adhered to. He said the Board would this year organize the National Regatta festival, Caribbean carnival and the National Tourism Awards, which is held bi-annually to honour people in the industry who were doing well in terms of complying with standards.

Mr Mireku expressed the Board's gratitude to government for the new head offices of the GTB and said plans were advanced for the staff to move from the old office to the new one.

Staff of the Ghana Tourist Board expressed concern about low salaries, lack of a substantive Board for GTB, lack of direction to tourist sites among other things to help grow the industry. At the Hotel Catering and Hospitality Training Institute (HOTCATT), the training wing of the Ministry, Ms Fati Dakubo, Director of the Institute, said there were numerous challenges the institution was battling with even though they had been able to train a lot of people in the sector.

The Minister pointed out that training was an important aspect of the hospitality industry, thus HOTCATT was dear to the heart of the Ministry.

She promised to pay more visits to the Ministries, Agencies and Departments so that she could be part of the growth in the tourism industry.

Mrs Bridget Katsriku, Chief Director of the Ministry, commenting on HOTCATT's situation said they were collaborating with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) to expand the training facilities.

She expressed the hope that with the collaboration HOTCATT would be better in terms of infrastructure and efficiency. Mrs. Oboshie Sai-Cofie also visited various handicraft centres at Okpongblo. The visit to the handicraft centres was in line with the recently held seminar on Tourism and Handicrafts which called for a stronger collaboration between the tourism and handicrafts sectors.

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