The events, being organised by the Ministry in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat is aimed at promoting tourism and making Ghana the global destination for Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Dr Awal said considering the fact that the second half of each year was the peak period for international arrivals, the target of one million tourists for the events would be achieved.
He said, “events such as Afro nation, Afochelle, Essence among others will help drive tourists to Ghana.”
Dr Awal indicated that Ghana’s tourism sector had the potential to contribute significantly to national economic transformation, saying “the country is not only gifted with diverse culture but also home to some of the best flora and fauna in the most exquisite ecotourism sites of the world.”
“Ghana and Africa need to showcase our best to the world in order to attract the much-needed investment and jobs for the youth. We are determined to build a thriving tourism economy where hospitality, arts and culture are used as tools for economic development,” he added.
The Sector Minister expressed delight over the significant contributions the ‘Year of Return’ and ‘Destination Ghana’ had made to the country’s tourism drive, saying that in 2019, 1.1 million visitors came to Ghana following the launch of the ‘Year of Return’.
He reiterated government’s commitment to the establishment of an ultra modern $10 million tourism and hospitality training school in Accra expected to begin next year.
The training school, which would be funded under the Ghana Tourism Development Project with support from the World Bank, according to the Minister, would provide training for people in the tourism and hospitality value chain to enhance customer service practice in hotels across the sub-region.
He said the National Museum, which was recently rehabilitated and modernised, had recorded over 14,000 visitors in just six weeks against a figure of 12,874 for the whole of 2015 prior to its closure in 2016.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said the ‘December in Ghana’ events which had become one of the biggest activations in the tourism sector had not only helped boost the economy but also made Ghana as the ‘go-to’ destination in December and the rest of the year.
He said some of the activities for the event would be: African Legends Night, the Bloggers Festival, Bukom Boxing Fiesta, the Ga Mashie Jams and returning events such as the Afochelle, Afro Nation, Akwaaba UK, Joyful Way, Westside Carnival, Kids in Tourism, GT Bank Concert, Y Havoc, and the Samba Festival.
He urged Ghanaians to support the initiative by participating in the planned activities and make the yuletide a unique attraction, both locally and internationally.