Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Minister Of Tourism Creative Arts And Culture

The Chamber for Tourism Industry (CTI) is calling on stakeholders to mine untapped avenues in rural tourism.

CTI Ghana celebrates World Tourism Day with the rest of the global community, and wants stakeholders in Ghana to take advantage of tourism in rural areas, and create opportunities for development.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated this year the “Year of Tourism and Rural Development”, highlighting the opportunities of the tourism industry towards job creation in rural areas.

It also offers an opportunity to preserve and promote cultural heritage sites.

Speaking on the 2020 World Tourism Day celebration, the COO of CTI Ghana, Angela Akua Asante, stated: “It’s reported that a bit over 43 per cent of Ghana’s population is rural.

It’s a great balance to maintain in order to avoid over-populated urban cities like the capital of Accra.

“What this means also is that there’s consequently more ground to cover in rural tourism. This is why we are looking to deepen our partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority for data collection, or again with the Tour Operators Union of Ghana to boost tours and activities such as planting trees in rural areas.

“We, at the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana, advocate for the development of rural areas. Tourism must always align with the regeneration of the environment and economic growth for the locals.”

She added “as a nation, Ghana has no shortage of sites of cultural heritage, both of local and global significance. As the world continues to recognise the tourism potential of Ghana, particularly for the African diaspora, and as we begin to mark the decade-long celebration of the “Beyond the Return” initiative of the government, following the success of the “Year of Return” year-long festivities, it is important to focus on the potential of the global recognition to develop the nation’s rural sites.”

She explained further that there has never been a better time to direct resources towards developing rural communities, particularly those with strong historical significance, in order to situate these better to boost their tourism potential.

There is also a need, particularly for chiefs and rural leaders, to prepare their citizenry to position themselves well to tap into the industry at the very grassroots level to create job opportunities in the rural communities which are often overlooked in development projects, she emphasised.