The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has called on key actors in the tourism sector to forge deeper collaborations between academia to help effectively promote the industry.
Mr Seth Adjei Baah, Board Chair of the GTA, who made the call said tourism industry players had not involved those in the academia enough in finding lasting solutions to underlying challenges for the growth of the sector.
He said there was, therefore, the need to form such deeper collaborations between the two to help come up with appropriate interventions to help mitigate such issues to promote the tourism industry.
He was speaking at the 2023 third quarter Public Private Partnership Forum (PPPF)organized by the GTA, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, in Takoradi, on the theme: "Fostering Stronger Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism Development."
The PPPF, fourth in a series being organised, brought together industry stakeholders to discuss ways through which the public and private sectors could work together to foster collaboration towards the growth of the tourism sector.
Mr Baah indicated that one of the ways to effectively harness the tourism potential in the country was to involve the academia more in crafting policies that would develop the industry to help generate the needed revenue to accelerate socio-economic growth of the country.
Dr Foster Frempong, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography and Rural Development at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, noted that the core of sustainable tourism was to strike a delicate balance between economic growth and environmental conservation
"That is why there is the need for the academia to shift from passive intervention management to active marketing intervention of the tourism industry," he said.
He added that the collaboration between the academia and the tourism industry actors was not only needed, but also imperative to help drive the transformation needed in the sector, saying "the tourism industry is seen as a powerful force because of its vast economic potential."
Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister, said in an era marked by interconnectedness and shared responsibility. collaboration stood as the most potent weapon in crafting a future where tourism would thrive.
He said tourism had the power to enrich economies, create employment opportunities, and facilitate cultural exchange
"However, this potential can only be fully harnessed through strategic partnerships that unite governments, businesses, local communities, and stakeholders under a common banner of sustainable growth," he added.
Mr Mark Okraku-Mantey, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, urged Ghanaians to invest more in the country's tourism sector.
Mr Okraku-Mantey said the government had taken steps to address issues that hindered the growth of the industry including taxes multiplicity, unregistered and freelance operators, high lending rates, ineffective tourism trade association among others to help attract more investors for the sector
"I must say that so far, the collaboration between the President Akufo-Addo-led government and private businesses within the tourism ecosystem has been good, hence the result we are seeing through programmes that were initiated such as the 'Year of Return' and 'Beyond the Return," he noted.
Mr Akwasi AgyemanChief Executive Officer of the GTAsaid the Public Private Partnership Forum on tourism was established under Section 42 of the Tourism Act (Act 817) 2011 to engage the private sector to discuss pertinent issues that impacted the development of the tourism sector in Ghana.