Ghana celebrated World Tourism Day 2021, surrounded by the mountains of the Volta Region just outside Hohoe nestled in the valley a few kilometres from the Wli Waterfalls. People travelled from across the country to experience the Volta Region while commemorating this important international celebration of the tourism sector. The United Nations (UN) designated September 27 as the day to celebrate the tourism industry every year. It’s an industry that employs one in ten people globally and the pandemic has had an impact making it one of the hardest hit industries in the world. Because marginalized communities have suffered the worst effects, the UN decided that this year’s theme would be ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth.’ The UN hopes to support growth and recovery in the sector that will be inclusive of all communities around the world.
Each year a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) chooses a country to officially celebrate the day while others around the world join in the festivities in their respective countries. This year the official day was held in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. The Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal and the CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, were not in attendance at the festivities in Ghana because they were representing at the main event in Côte d’Ivoire.
In Ghana, it was decided to hold the event in the Volta Region, one of the areas that do not receive the same international spotlight as some other regions in Ghana. “The purpose of the celebration this year is to raise awareness of the role of tourism in the international community and to showcase our tourism potentials,” said Minister of Railways Development and MP for Hohoe Constituency, John-Peter Amewu. “Tourism plays a very vital role in the GDP of every country,” he continued. “For countries to develop from one point to another its important that attention be given to tourism.” He thanked Ghana Tourism Authority for its contributions to uplifting tourist facilities in the area and implored for continued support.
Brand Ambassadors for the upcoming Volta Fair, Dzifa Bampoe who is Head of News at TV3 and Ivy Prosper, Media Professional and Social Media Manager for Ghana Tourism Authority’s Year of Return/Beyond the Return Campaigns, each delivered short messages to the community about their involvement in promoting tourism and investment to the Volta Region. Missing from the event were the other Volta Fair ambassadors, Kafui Day, Broadcast Journalist, Author and Co-Host on GTV Breakfast, Bernard Avle, Broadcast Journalist with Citi FM/CitiTV, and Emefa Apawu, Broadcast Journalist with Multimedia Group. Due to other commitments, they were unable to attend the event, but have participated in the other activities to promote the Volta Region.
The weather was perfect with the sunshine revealing the beauty of the lush green mountains that surrounded the grounds for the festivities. Members of the community came out in big numbers with culture on full display with music, dancing, drumming and the diversity of traditional leaders who have a keen interest in the development of their communities to uplift the region. Activities were almost faltered when thick clouds rolled through with rain that forced attendees to run for cover. It didn’t stop the event as the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey stood under an umbrella at the podium to deliver his keynote address. “Tourism for inclusive growth means creating descent employment through inclusive economic growth a skilled and vibrant workforce to support an inclusive growth path and statistics that acknowledge that behind every number there is a person,” He said. “It also means unlocking the potential of the tourism ecosystem the value chain and investment facilitation for more inclusive and sustainable growth in traditions and marginalized communities with huge tourism and other resources.”
Deputy CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Ekow Sampson, spoke on behalf of CEO of GTA, Akwasi Agyeman, who could not be there for the festivities saying, “Domestic tourism presents an opportunity for us to sustain tourism growth.” He explained that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, together with Ghana Tourism Authority and the private sector collaborated to initiate the domestic tourism campaign ‘Experience Ghana Share Ghana’ to encourage the local community to patronize travel within the country and region of West Africa. Overall, the day was a success, and the community was happy that international attention has come to uplift the place they call home with the hope it leads to economic growth and better opportunities.
By: Ivy Prosper