Mr George Nkrumah Ansere, Western Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) implored the media to consider tourism and its related business as a priority in its role as a public educator.
He noted that not much attention has been given to tourism especially with regards to domestic tourism by the media, making reference to the recent World Tourism Day celebration where the media was required to invite stakeholders to amplify the celebrations and its key messages.
Mr Ansere who made the statement in an interview said the media could promote domestic tourism through its airwaves and social media handles.
He urged the media to provide a platform for inclusive dialogue to identify solutions to realize tourism’s potential as a vehicle for recovery and transformation and ask big questions and identify solutions to realign tourism for the future.
He added that the media should amplify the message of tourism as an inspirational and transformational force in fulfilling its potential and advocate in mobilizing political will and cooperation to ensure tourism becomes a central part of policymaking.
Illustrating the historic relevance of the sector, he said tourism was now on the agenda of governments and of international organizations in every global region.
Mr Ansere mentioned that as the sector’s recovery gets underway and builds on unprecedented political and public recognition for the sector, the media who are partners in development are expected to highlight the opportunity to rethink how we do tourism.
“This means putting people and the planet first and bringing everyone from governments and businesses to local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector”, he stated.
He contended that the pandemic highlighted the critical need to transform the tourism industry since the global tourism was recovering slowly.
According to him, international tourist arrivals at the start of this year were double the level recorded in 2021 and that in some regions, arrivals were already at, or even above, prepandemic levels.
Mr Ansere noted that the lifting of the remaining travel restrictions, alongside rising consumer confidence, will be important drivers for the sector’s recovery, bringing hope and opportunity to many millions of people around the world.
These multi-stakeholder panel discussions on the theme as a key element of recovery as well as discussions on “the tourism we want” should be led by local representatives from across the Western Region aimed at promoting domestic tourism.
He recounted that the official World Tourism Day celebration was targeted to inspire the debate around rethinking tourism for development, including through education and jobs, and tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably.
The one-day celebration, he said, brought together stakeholders from every part of tourism’s uniquely broad value chain – from political and private sector leaders to community representatives, and youth and indigenous ambassadors to look into discussion bothering – “where is tourism going, where do we want to go and how do we get there?”