This year’s ‘December in GH’ tourism event is expected to attract about 150,000 visitors into the country, double the number of last year.
Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the event, since its inception in 2019, had become key on the country’s tourism calendar, contributing to Ghana’s tourism growth.
It is characterized by interesting and innovative tourism oriented activities that bring thousands of tourists from across the globe to Ghana.
Dr. Awal told the media that said 30 million Ghana cedis from the World Bank had been disbursed to support players in the tourism, arts and culture space, and by the middle of next year the Ministry would have distributed 55 million cedis to support the industry.
“The country is on course to attracting about 600,000 tourist arrivals in 2021, being a 100 percent increase for the 300,000 obtained in 2020.” he said.
“Government’s ambitions for the sector is to generate about 250,000 domestic and international jobs by the end of year, leveraging significantly on ‘December in GH.’”
Dr Awal said significant strides had been made by the tourism sector despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As of now, the tourism sector has achieved about 70 percent target in terms of measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on tourism businesses. As it stands now Ghana is attracting more tourists in West Africa due to the country’s vaccination drive and we are expecting some 150,000 visitors for ‘December in GH,” he said.
The last quarter of this year was going to be exciting and very critical for the sector in attracting those projected numbers into the country, as against last year, he added.
Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), said activities for the events, which had been approved amid the covid-19, included Afrochella, Rhythms on the Run Way, Taste of Ghana, Kwanzaa, Diaspora Transition, Takoradi Festival, A centenary of demise of Yaa Asantewaa at Kumasi, and GUBA awards.
He said since 2019, December had become a key month for tourism growth, especially with high profile events drawing thousands from across the globe into the country adding that the GTA was working with the Ministry and the National COVID-19 Task Force to approve some protocols to govern the events.
The events would be observed under strict COVID-19 protocols where vaccination cards would be required before participation and ensure all protocols were observed.
“By November 1, we will have the full calendar of events. The Ministry and GTA are still vetting most of the events, which have been received and by the end of this month, the full list of events will be announced, and contactless ticketing would highly be utilized to prevent personal contacts,” he added.
“Participants from the diaspora must have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, pre-purchase COVID-19 test from Frontier Health Service before embarkation; make payment on that platform and go through a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport in Ghana,” Mr. Agyeman said. He said the GTA was in touch with the Ghana Police Service to ensure all protocols were observed and those that breached them would be arrested and prosecuted.