Ghana will join the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) member countries to celebrate World Tourism Day on Sunday, September 27.
The event is on the theme: “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities”.
A statement signed by Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, said it would provide Ghana with the opportunity to celebrate the transformative potential of one billion tourists.
She said more than one billion tourists travel to international destinations every year including Ghana.
The Minister said these billion tourists have made tourism a leading economic sector, contributing 10 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product and 6 per cent of the world´s total exports.
“In Ghana, the tourism, culture and creative arts sector has contributed phenomenally to economic growth and development at the national and local levels,” she added.
She said in 2014, the sector maintained its position as the fourth highest foreign exchange earner after Gold, Cocoa and Oil.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said international arrivals and receipts grew by 10 per cent, by rising from 993,600 in 2013 to estimated 1,093, 000 in 2014, resulting in an increase from US$ 1.9 Billion to estimated US$2.1 billion and its contribution to GDP in 2014 was estimated to 4.7 per cent.
In terms of employment, a total of 354,000 jobs were created in both formal and informal tourism enterprises and establishments, out of which 101,000 were direct jobs.
She said the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts has dedicated year 2015 as year of tourism and launched the “Explore Ghana Domestic Tourism Programme”.
It was aimed at inspiring the citizens to know their country better and conserve and preserve its rich and diverse cultural, historical and cultural attractions and events and sites.
The Minister said the domestic tourism programme also offered tourist the opportunity to visit as many sites within the country and inject substantial tourist revenue in the local economies, whiles redistributing incomes from more economic endowed cities.
“Besides its economic impacts, the promotion of domestic tourism is aimed at strengthening interactions among Ghanaians to foster national cohesion, understanding and unity for development,” she said.
She said in support of the initiative, she embarked on three regional tours to the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Northern regions as part of series of tours to engage key stakeholders to support tourism development in the country for the mutual benefits of all.
The primary aim was to engage local people in tourism development and build stronger and more resilient communities.
“One of the key drivers for the domestic tourism is to develop a variety of skills through capacity building initiatives at the Local Level,” she added.
She said as an active UNWTO member, the day was being celebrated to highlight the potential of tourism as a valuable source of livelihood for millions of Ghanaians and the world at large.
She called on social partners and stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to celebrate the value of the “One Billion Tourists” and work together in making tourism a true instrument of opportunity and inclusion.
She said the Ministry was committed and determined to use tourism, culture and creative arts as a vital tool for achieving positive change in communities across the length and breadth of Ghana.