Africa-Press – Ghana. The Government targets four-billion dollars as contribution to the national economy by the tourism sector, making it the number one contributor to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2024.
Mr Mark Okraku-Mantey, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said it was necessary for all industry players to pool resources, build their capacities and explore technologies to market their products on the African Continental Free Trade Area to generate more revenue for Ghana.
“President Akufo-Addo wants to make tourism the number one contributor to Ghana’s GDP and make Ghana a hub of tourism in West Africa. He has given us a target of USD 4 billion by the year 2024,” he said.
Mr Okraku-Mantey said this when he delivered the key note address at the media launch of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) as part of strategies by the National Commission on Culture and the Tourism Ministry to make the industry a tool for development and wealth creation.
It is on the theme: “Reviving Patriotism, Peace and Unity through Cultural Diversity for Sustainable Development.” Government has a target of two million tourists visiting Ghana annually and this would be achieved by projecting the country’s rich culture to increase the tourism drive.
“We celebrate the National Festival of Arts and Culture because it promotes unity, peace and tourism. We cannot attain all that we want from tourism without our culture,” he said.
“Culture is the raw material for the creative industry and the creative industry is the product we use to sell our tourism.”
Madam Janet Edna Nyame, the Executive Director, National Commission on Culture, said NAFAC had, cover the years, contributed to the artistic and socioeconomic development of the State.
“This year’s theme enjoins us to situate our Ghanaian culture, norms, values and practices at the centre of our developmental agenda,” she said.
In all aspects of national development, there was the need to pay attention to the impacts of culture on Ghana’s efforts to achieving the desired outcomes, Madam Nyame said.
NAFAC was the brainchild of the late Dr Alexander Atta Yaw Kyerematen, in what he began as ‘Cultural Experiment’ in 1960. This grew into a ‘National Treasure’ and in 1962, the first National Festival of Arts was held at the Asante Cultural Centre.
The Centre was renamed the Ghana National Cultural Centre following Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s visit there in 1963. As a biennial event, it had not been held after the last edition in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this year’s edition comes off on December 9-16, at Cape Coast and would have on board a competition of performances between the 16 regions. NAFAC 2022 is also in honour of the memory of its founder, the late Dr Alexander Kyerematen as his legacy had lived on after 60 years.