Nominee for the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture, Mr. Awal Mohammad, has pledged to resurrect the Marine Drive project if his nomination is approved by Parliament.
The project, he said, is very important and a game-changer in Ghana’s tourism sector and if given the opportunity he plans to invest between US$ 8-10 billion over the next ten years to ensure it gets underway.
He disclosed the Marine Drive Project has the potential to create about 36,000 jobs during its construction and more after its completion.
The Minister-designate gave this pledge when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday 25th February, 2021 for vetting.
According to him, private sector participation is key to the development of such a major project hence very important to have some Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
He said, “We intend to attract the private sector from all across the world and though the intention is to give some preferences to Ghanaian investors.”
“I believe this project cannot be completed without the participation of the private sector.”
Mr. Awal Mohammed observed that tourism the world over contributes significantly to GDP and in Ghana is the fourth highest contributor to GDP per bank of Ghana statistics.
He gave assurance of his commitment to making the sector the number one contributor to GDP.
“Ghana has all along depended on cocoa, gold and oil but these are extractives and we cannot be certain on their dependency,” he said and indicated his intention to embark on an aggressive venture to reboot international and domestic tourism.
He noted that Ghana has some of the best sites in terms of tourism besides the fact that the Ghanaian people are very warm, welcoming and have very rich arts, culture and attractive heritage sites.
The nominee stressed that when these were put on display during the year of return in 2019 about 1.1 million tourists visited Ghana.
Mr. Awal Mohammed also expressed his determination to revive and promote domestic tourism, which will include corporate tourism, school tourism and religious tourism among many more others.
According to him, apart from offering people an opportunity to know all parts of the country it will also build national unity and cohesion.
He stressed the importance of improving the arts and culture of the country, especially in terms of drumming and dancing.
He argued that bringing back the national festival of arts and culture could potentially boost both domestic and international tourism.
He stated that building the capacity of the sector will earn the state US5$ billion dollars on average in the next two years and make tourism the number one foreign exchange earner for Ghana.
The nominee insisted the $5 billion-target is not over-ambitious and stressed that during the 2019 Year of Return, the country grossed about $3 billion.
He said, “This is just one year and so if we embark on an international tourism drive including and arts and culture festival we should be able to gross $6 billion by 2024.”
“This is not impossible Mr. Chairman, and with the support of all stakeholders we will be able to do it.”
The nominee disclosed that Ghana does not have to reinvent the wheels of tourism strategies being pursued by other African countries but to grow her own strategies.
He disclosed that given the opportunity he will build an international first-class film and music studio as part of this drive because it is one element that could increase the tourism potential of the country.
He stated that such a facility will help the films and music production industry and make Ghana the hub of film production in the West African sub-region.