Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, says the Akufo-Addo government has elevated the tourism industry through its policies and vision for the country.

Speaking on Daybreak Hitz on Hitz FM on Thursday, he said that although there have been attempts by previous governments to push tourism, none of them can be compared to the initiatives put in place by the incumbent government.

He cited the ‘Year of Return’ and the ‘Beyond The Return’ initiatives implemented by the government to buttress his point.

“Tourism has always been with us but it wasn’t a big deal until President Akufo-Addo’s time. I will say this any day any time. Yes there was a degree of tourism promotion and marketing but none of these things can be compared to the ‘Year of Return’,” he said.

Mr Okraku-Mantey explained that the growth of tourism now expands to other sectors of the creative industry, including hospitality, fashion, art and performances among others.

He stated that he is proud of the introduction of festivals, like Wildaland, Afrochella, BHIM Concert and others in December which attract tourists when they land in the country for their activities ahead of the holidays.

Mr Okraku Mantey said that ultimately when a person travels into the country “it is the creative and culture people who benefit. So we are saying that the creative industry must also have its share to be able to grow the foundation to supply to the tourist when they come.”

With this goal in mind, the Deputy Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture advised against the separation of the Tourism and the Creative arts industry.

He said the growth of one ensures the success of the other, hence it is important for creatives to also advocate for the growth of tourism.

“Tourism is not different from the creatives, so I don’t want to hear the question of how the creative industry is doing as against that of tourism. It sends a signal that there are gaps among the three, that is culture, creatives and tourism.”