The Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan says the tourism industry can be a game-charger in the fight against poverty in the Upper West but unfortunately, many of the tourist sites are under-developed and therefore do not attract a lot of tourists.
He observed that more needs to be done to promote the sites and consequently asked the private sector to support government in that direction.
Alhaji Alhassan made the observation in a speech delivered for him by the Deputy Regional Coordinating Director, Fati Koray at the 2018 Regional Tourism Awards Night at Wa.
The Regional Minister encouraged business owners and stakeholders in the tourism sector to partner communities and District Assemblies to develop the site to promote tourism.
He told service providers in the industry to bear in mind the high expectation of tourists and up their game accordingly.
Alhaji Alhassan impressed it on the Ghana Tourism Authority to organise regular training programmes for service providers to upgrade their skills and also update them on new trends in the hospitality industry.
Upper West has an array of tourism resources which include the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, the Gwollu Slave Defence Wall and Bone-setter Clinic, the Wa Naa’s Palace and the Nakore Ancient Mosque.
The Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary in 2018 for instance recorded one thousand and twenty-four (1,024) arrivals out of which 505 were non-residents.
The Regional Minister assured that government will continue to provide an enabling environment by providing accessibility to the tourist site to attract the needed investment.
The Upper West Regional Director of Ghana Tourism Authority, Moses Ndewin Ndebugri stated that awards were aimed at setting and consistently raising the standards of what is attainable and desirable in the competitive global tourism market to help raise overall standards in the industry over time.
Mr. Ndebugri admonished tourism practitioners to remain focused in increasing the quality of their services, saying Let us live our heritage in our industry practices by ensuring that Ghana and her international visitors Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, See Ghana and Feel Ghana as part of creating an enviable memorable experience for all.
Twenty institutional and individual awards were given at the ceremony. The two-star hotel of the year award went to Nuoyong Hotel with Sem-B Lodge grabbing the one-star hotel of the year category.
Emmanuel Modey of Daily Graphic was adjudged the Tourism Writer of The Year.
Mr. Emmanuel Modey of Daily Graphic ( in cap) with the U/W Regional Director of GTA, Moses Ndewin Ndebugri
The event which was to reward deserving industry practitioners and stakeholders who have demonstrated excellence in their line of duty and also shown commitment to the growth and development of the tourism industry was themed: Celebrating Our Heritage.