The government intends to roll out a stimulus package of GH₵600 million for the tourism sector.            

The move forms part of measures to cushion operators in the hospitality industry due to the hazardous effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah dropped the hint at the 2019 Western and Western-North Regional Tourism Awards in Takoradi.    

The annual awards scheme which aims at rewarding excellence in the hospitality industry to stimulate healthy competition in the tourism sector was on the theme, “Growing Tourism Beyond The Return”.    

Mr. Darko-Mensah lauded the hardworking staff in the hospitality industry for the successful ‘Year of Return’ programme.    

The Regional Minister said 200,000 more visitors from the diaspora were expected to visit tourist sites in the country as the Covid-19 scourge continues to go down.              

He said the government was putting long term sustainable measures to eradicate the pandemic.    

The Regional Minister who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Takoradi said the Region had been making giant strides to be the number one tourism destination in Ghana.     

Mr Darko-Mensah said the government continues to develop the tourism sector to showcase the Region globally.          

He said the Spanish government has set up a development platform for the region, adding that the region abounds in tourist attractions such as Nzulezu (a village on stilt)  which is a multi-dollar facility and stressed the need for people to invest in the facility.

He said the Western Regional Coordinating Council in Takoradi would be holding a carnival performance and invited the rest of Ghana and the world to witness the street carnival on December 25 and 26, this year.  

He said the Region also has the first-ever gold museum and appealed to the youth to venture into the tourism industry and set up their businesses.  

The Director-General in Charge of Operations at the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Ekow Sampson said tourism was another vibrant sector and asked industrial players to strive hard to make the sector attractive.  

He said under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, the 2019 Year of Return was successful.  

Mr. Sampson said though Covid-19 had impacted negatively on the tourism industry, stakeholders must find ways to sustain the industry by observing the safety and hygienic protocols to make the industry bounce back.  

He was worried that the industry was being confronted with illegal operators who flout the law and added that the Authority and other stakeholders have set up the Tourism Site Regulation 2020 to regulate tourist sites in the country.      

Mr. Sampson also announced that a Hospitality Training Institute will be set up which will be funded by the World Bank as part of initiatives to address quality tourism delivery in Ghana.      

The Western Regional Manager of the Authority, Mr George Nkrumah, whose speech was read for him, said there was a diaspora initiative in the 2019 Year of Return charter which has been eroded by the Covid-19 thereby eroding the gains in the Industry.  

The first Regional Tourism Personality of the Year Award went to Dr. Stephen Saforo Yirenkyi, while the Media of the Year Award was grabbed by Focus and Spice media.  

The Best Chef of the Year Award went to Mr. Samuel Agyekum of the Kingstel Hotel at Apollo with the Site Guide of the Year going to Mr Emmanuel Amuah.

Also, the Visitor Attraction Site of the Year went to Ankasa Forest Reserve.

The Tour Operator of the Year went to Flylinks Travels at Anaji with Sadak Car Rentals grabbing the Car Rental Service Award.  

The Traditional Caterer of the Year Award was scooped by “God Is Love Chop Bar” while the Fast Food Establishment of the Year Award went to Latara restaurant.