Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture, says government will soon train about 30,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector.
He said the Ministry would also allocate GH¢120 million as seed capital to equip and help them grow. Dr. Awal was addressing the 3rd edition of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge organized by Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) in collaboration with the United World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the auspices of MOTAC, in Accra.
The summit is on the theme “Empowering African youth through tourism innovation, education, and investments in a changing world”. He said the summit would focus on the skills development and innovation methodologies for the youth and the need for an ecosystem approach among tourism stakeholders to enable entrepreneurs to grow and develop.
Dr. Awal said the training would help build the capacity and strengthen the ability of the youth to compete and also create jobs, encouraging the youth to demonstrate their willingness to aspire to greatness.
“If you are not obsessed and passionate you cannot achieve your goals, we want the young people here to be entrepreneurs, creative and innovative. If you are not efficient you cannot drive this continent,” he stated.
Dr. Awal called for the need to creatively look at the sector, innovate and empower the youth and build their capacity to play an active and enthusiastic role in the African debate and make meaningful contributions to the continuing efforts at a stronger Africa.
He noted that it was time to create the enabling environment to make lasting changes and meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
Mr. Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the sector’s progress globally and locally, there was almost 70 percent decline in tourism arrivals and receipts. He however noted that the GTA together with private sector players were making efforts to ensure that the sector bounced back. “If there is one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that we must innovate to survive.”
Mr. Agyemang noted that the sector could progress through a continuous, coordinated effort to empower the youth at all levels, saying the summit had created an important opportunity for the youth to come together, share ideas, learn more, and discuss strategy.
“The future is youth, and it is imperative that we make the required efforts to tap into the innovative ideas they possess.”