Parliament yesterday approved a loan facility of $40 million for the financing of the proposed Tourism Development Project which seeks to promote investment in tourism, develop tourist infrastructure, marketing or branding of corporate Ghana and improve supply chain links.
$15 million of the loan facility will be used to develop tourism sites by financing activities to upgrade tourism sites, package market opportunities and leverage private sector investment in the development and commercialization of selected tourist assets.
$5 million of the loan will be used for Tourism Enterprise Support Programme that will provide tourism small-scale and medium enterprises particularly those owned by women the opportunity to improve on their business plans, formalize their businesses and apply for grants to upgrade their tourist products and services.
$14 million of the loan facility will be used to provide quality, access and safety upgrades to a minimum of five public owned sites within the destination areas and also provide matching grants assistance to sites that are publicly owned to ensure quality upgrade while $10 million has been assigned for training and capacity building in the hospitality industry.
$4 million of the loan amount will be used for marketing, promotion and branding strategy and develop an action plan to address the marketing and branding challenges facing the sector.
The minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, however raised concern about the $10 million that has been allocated for training and capacity building under the facility stressing that the specific areas of training were not spelt out and those to benefit from the training were not mentioned.
He said the Finance Committee should have given better particulars about the training and capacity building which is to cost the nation $10 million for proper oversight by parliament.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Catherine Afeku explained the need for the training and capacity building in the industry to make Ghana an attractive tourism destination.
The Minister explained that the amount will be used to set up two training institutions in the Eastern and Western Regions which would be dedicated to training of personnel for service delivery in the tourism industry
“Many of the people in the tourism industry do not have the required standard of training especially in the hospitality industry and these people will be given periodic training to bring their standard up to those pertaining in Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa,” she said adding that the Ministry will constantly update parliament on the training programmes and the amount spent at each stage.
The Minister, however, appealed to parliament to streamline all taxes imposed in the hospitality industry since a lot of investors in that area are complaining about a lot taxes from the Environmental Protection Agency, the district assemblies and other agencies so that operators will not feel burdened with a lot of taxes.
The Minister who is also the MP for Evalue Ajomoro Gwira said the ministry has started the branding of corporate Ghana using the visits of high profile personalities like the wife of President Donald Trump and the Prince of Wales to help attract more investment into the tourism industry adding that the approved loan will give much impetus to the branding exercise to attract investment into the tourism industry.
Source: Daily Guide