Feature: The Ministry of Tourism deserves the same attention as Finance, Trade et al

Your majesty, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo –Addo, tamer of wild elephants, keeper of the Jubilee House now Flagstaff house and soon to be Jubilee House, Commander in-Chief of all the warriors of the Gold Coast, the one who is Excellent.

I wish I could prostrate straight before you in greetings but here is not the Aso Rock Villa or well, the Qasr Al Hukm. I bring you greetings from the house of Tozzy, master of coin and keeper of the holiest of all foods, Kenkey.

There is a simple truth that doesn’t seem to occur to anyone or they simply choose to ignore and I know your people won’t tell you unless someone else draws your attention to it.

The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts

In all humility Mr. President you should give the same weighting to this Ministry as you would the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs.

It seems to appear that wearing “African Print” dresses with a couple of beads (our definition for culturally oriented), being a radio entertainment pundit, some star of a sort or since 2008 just being a woman is enough a qualification for that office.

They dish that office out just to compensate blocs. It doesn’t seem to appear that we treat that Ministry as a revenue generating unit that can create millions of direct and indirect jobs.

But actually, Tourism is the Fourth highest Foreign Exchange earner for this country after oil, gold and cocoa it should be given very serious attention

According to the World Tourism & Travel Council, Tourism contributed GHC 6. 24 billion ($1 .73 billion) in 2013, which is 7.2% of our total GDP below a global average of 9.2%.

This is significantly below that of Kenya’s 12.1% (we have a relatively stable region compared to Kenya). This means that ones commodities are taken out, tourism earns more and it is more stable than the volatile prices of these commodities.

Tourism in 2004 accounted for 214.7 million jobs globally and 124,500 direct jobs (imagine the indirect jobs) in Ghana.

But although the WTTC forecasts a 4.5% per year growth for tourism, it has rather been dwindling over the years. We should pay attention to this sector if we must create jobs and generate money as a country.

Your Excellency,

In Nigeria, their creative arts industry employs over 1,000,000 people, I repeat One Million people, producing about 2,500 movies a year among several other art forms. It is the third largest contributor to their GDP only after oil and agriculture. It is the world’s second largest movie industry.

It generates $590 million a year.

Hollywood generated $10.8 billion in 2012.

How much does Ghana generate?

“There is no money in Ghana’s film industry-Shirley Frimpong-Manso” I swear this is what google gave me. Allah! We don’t even have a single name for our industry!! (GhallyWood, GhallyGold, KumaWood, GhanaFilms etc) even the legendary “Kweku Ananse” won’t understand this confusion. I really can’t think far!

But Your Excellency, how can there be money in such a potentially robust industry if we appoint Ministers to that portfolio only to attend funerals on behalf of the President, to attend catering school graduation ceremonies and music shows just to present awards?

How can we make money if we don’t give equal weighting to that industry as we give sports, finance and trade? How can we make money if we give that portfolio to radio pundits and soft porn directors parading as pioneers of creative arts? How can we make money if we allowed ‘Kum Kum Bagya’ and ‘What Live Took From Me’ to reign supreme on all our televisions stations while local contents are rotting on people’s desk? We won’t and we can’t unless we change.

Your Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, please don’t repeat this mistake.

If your people suggest someone for that Ministry to you and that individual can’t brand Antoa or Nogokpo to attract visitors like the Vatican or he or she is not as robust in economic thought as Dr. Bawumia or your Trade Minister to be, then your highness kindly make that person a Minister of State at the Presidency just for “Shege” reasons.

Thank you wise one for your ears.

Prince Amatey Korley