Accra, July 12, GNA – Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, on Monday launched the National Tourism Destination Single Window project’ “VisitGHANA” App, dedicated to streamlining the services and operations of the Ghanaian tourism industry.
It is an all-in-one app and platform, dedicated to service quality across the tourism value chain.
Dr Awal said the project would also provide real time data for policy makers and investors, saying the app was free for all operators.
He said government intended to create one million jobs by the end of 2024 from domestic and international tourism, and this could not be achieved if players did not set up their operations as tourist operators.
Dr Awal said players in the value chain must have a new paradigm shift, new model that tourism was not business as usual but lots of money.
“We are going to train 10,000 operators within the tourism value chain this year and early next years. Customer care is very important, people should not come and go and not return, so these people would be trained, equipped with skills and competences to ensure that Ghana becomes the number one tourism destination in Africa.”
He said government was also planning on engaging hotel owners to make their signage’s bilingual to attract people from other West African countries, and train tourism entrepreneurs. “We have to be modern and competitive, so under the Ghana case programme, the Ministry is getting 100 million cedis and part would be used in improving tourist attractions to make the tourism sector competitive.”
“Let us rededicate ourselves as players in the industry, be opportunistic entrepreneurs and look at the bigger picture so that if we do our work well and tourist come in and out we would make monies and create jobs.”
The Sector Minister assured that government would continue to improve the infrastructure for tourist attractions and make it work, but they needed the collaborative efforts of stakeholders to make tourism respected and make it a money making mechanism.
Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, said a few years ago they embarked on a feasibility study of the industry, to find out how ready players were or how digitized their businesses were, and the findings revealed there was no level of the usage of digitized platforms across the length and breadth of practitioners.
“Almost 50 per cent of operators had no online provisions at their establishments at all, so all operations were done manually, but 80 per cent of transactions were done using the mobile phone and less than 30 per cent of operators were log in to any of the global system that were available for tourism.”
Mr Agyemang, said currently tourism infrastructure demand and supply played highly on several platforms, but yet most operators were missing on such platforms.
“Feedback from the visibility study indicated that about 80 per cent of the response were eager for Ghana to have its own platform or its own means of engaging in transactions for its operators and that was the beginning of the process of having this national tourism single window project.”
He said the platform has been made robust enough, and user friendly and has a lot of benefits to the industry. “It is available for every operator to be on there with your own slides, load your own services, pictures, pricing, so that globally everybody can have access to what you offer. Everybody can belong to this market place.”
The project is categorized into three modules, first to focus on enhancing the tourism levy collection process to raise needed funding for destination marketing, capacity building and infrastructural projects, to automate GTA processes and provide a seamless interface with relevant stakeholders, and to promote Ghana as an attractive tourism destination.
Mrs Bella Ahu, President, Ghana Tourism Federation, urged industry players to take advantage of this platform to go global, bring their products and services up to speed to become competitive, so that when visitors come they would go and return in the future.