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Regional News of Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Source: GNA

Tourism Safety and Security Initiative re-launched

Tourism Safety and Security Initiative (TOSS), a Non-governmental Organisation, was on Tuesday re-launched, on the theme: “Promoting Tourism through Safety, Security and Clean Environment”.

The Initiative has been dormant since it was mooted by Maxpal Intermediaries Limited, an Insurance Risk Management Company and registered in 2000, to answer certain concerns pertaining to the tourism industry.

The current TOSS has Dr Doreen Owusu-Fianko as its Chairperson, Mr Kofi Yankah as the Executive Director and Mr Kwame Twum-Ampofo as the Director-Special Duties.

Dr Doreen Owusu-Fianko, Chairperson of Toss, said the increasing accidents in the tourism sector in recent times; incidence of attacks on tourists; and terrorism in some parts of the world, was a wake-up call for the country to institute robust measures for security and ensure vigilance of environmental cleanliness.

She cited the Bonsu Arboretum canopy walk-way incident in the Eastern Region, in which some tourists were injured, saying it has re-kindled the passion to embark on a sustainable crusade with a broader spectrum of stakeholders.

These would include new entrants such as the Narcotics Control Board, the National Road Safety Commission, the Ghana Immigration Service, Aviation Security, and the Ghana Fire Service among others, to sustain the project.

She said TOSS with the current collaboration, would lead in the national crusade to develop sustainable programmes, products and take appropriate measures to safeguard, protect and ensure the safety and security of tourists, tourist attraction sites and respective facilities.

Dr Owusu-Fianko said the main objectives of TOSS would be centred on six thematic areas, which include the creation of awareness on the safety, security of tourists, attractive sites and respective facilities through sensitisation, and capacity development for personnel involved in tourism activities.

She said there would also be advocacy on tourism policing in collaboration with the appropriate authorities and stakeholders to request for the establishment of a Tourism Police Unit within the Ghana Police Force, to ensure the protection of both tourists and attraction sites.

Dr Owusu Fianko said the Initiative would further collaborate with stakeholders to undertake sustainable nationwide road safety campaigns to ensure the provision of efficient, reliable and safe public transportation.

She said TOSS would also forge closer collaboration with relevant authorities to create awareness of our cultural heritage, ensure the provision of insurance products for all tourists and facilities, and intensify education on health emergencies, sex adversity, and the enforcement of Local Government bye-laws on sanitation.

She said a safety and security exhibition and seminars would be undertaken in the early part of 2016 to start-off activities of TOSS and its collaborating partners.

Ms Dzifa Abla Gomashie, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, applauded the initiative of TOSS and its collaborating institutions for their effort to re-direct tourism through creative arts, and influence attitudinal change and national psyche towards tourism awareness and its potentials.

She said the Ministry would continue to provide the needed policy direction, and conducive environment for effective private sector participation in the tourism industry to ensure growth and improve revenue generation.

Reverend David Ampah Benin, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Director-General in-charge of the Public Affairs Department, Ghana Police Service, affirmed the commitment of his outfit towards effective tourism policing.

He said to this effect, some of their personnel were sent to Egypt to study how that country has managed its tourism policing over the years, and expressed the hope that we would be able to apply the knowledge gained.