Ghana's tourism sector outweighs the oil sector in terms of revenue generation to the development of the country, lecturer and Director of Tourism Research Advocacy Center at the University of Cape Coast, Professor Kwaku Boakye has said.
The sector, according to professor Boakye, is widely considered as one of the sectors that keeps economies going and governments need to pay special attention to it.
Professor Boakye quoted the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) saying that five counties earned high revenue in the tourism sector in 2016-2017.
The countries include the United States which earned 205.9 billion dollars, Spain brought in 60.3 billion dollars, China bagged 44. 4 billion, France netted 42.9 billion, and Thailand stashed 49.9 billion dollars.
Averagely, Ghana earned 1.26 billion in the last five years, but in the last seven years, the sector generated 3.5 billion dollars while creating 350 to 40,000 jobs for the unemployed.
Professor Boakye who presented an overview of tourism potentials and the challenges confronting the sector, said security poses a serious threat to the sector. He also mentioned a weak economy which sometimes make it difficult for tourism.
He recommended to government to find way of creating a special five years project for the Savannah zone and to also embark on reorganizing the sector. Professor Boakye entreated the ministry of tourism to educate key stakeholders of tourism potential.
He also called for reliable data of tourists in the country, urging the government needs to collaborate with academia to conduct scientific research for national data in the tourism sector. Tourism is means by which trade equalities can be achieved, professor Boakye observed.
He identified Northern Savannah ecological zone as having untapped tourist attraction and bemoaned what he called the overemphasis on few known tourist sites.
The Chief Executive Officer of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority(SADA), Mr Charles Abugre, said the authority is trying to market the smock material countrywide, but especially in the region.
"It starts with appreciating what we have because you can't promote to other people when you yourself don't even know it," Mr Abugre said. "There is the need for the people in the region to work on the negative perception about northerners in order that, investors can be convinced to invest in the north."
The authority he added, has worked with town and country planning to give Tamale a facelift by developing some strategic places.
The Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency, Mrs Pavelyn Tenclai Musaka will on Tuesday together with her Colombian counter presents details of her country's experience in the tourism sector.
His Excellency, Mr. Fernando Grillo, deputy chief of missions at the Colombian Embassy in Ghana will also presents Colombia experience in the tourism sector.