The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare has indicated that the realigning of the Tourism Ministry by incorporating culture and creative arts in 2013 is a well thought out decision as Ghana’s tourism depends mainly on its culture and creative arts in addition to its natural and historic heritage.
She noted that the realignment has expanded the Ministry’s mandate to provide a firm and stable policy environment for the effective mainstreaming of the Ghanaian culture into all aspects of national rife and to ensure the emergence of a vibrant and creative economy to improve and advance the tourism industry.
According to her, the creation of the Explore Ghana Domestic Tourism Program which was launched in 2014 for instance, is aimed at popularizing domestic tourism among ordinary Ghanaians and available statics show that more Ghanaians and foreign residents in Ghana are visiting tourism sites today than before.
Madam Ofosu-Agyare was speaking at a durbar to climax this year’s Kente Festival by the Chiefs and people of the Agortime Traditional Area in the Volta Region.
Kente weaving has been with the people of Agortime since their migration from the Nuer clan in the Ancient Sudan through Egypt to their present settlement.
In 1995, the Agortime weavers decided to collectively celebrate and honour their lifetime occupation and the trade of their forefathers through the Kente Festival.
Since then, the Kente Festival has become one of the biggest traditional, cultural and socio-economic festivals in the country and preferred destination for tourists.
The main objectives of the Kente Festival is for the preservation and protection of the kente cloth, the projection of the various uses of the cloth, acquisition of new techniques and innovations, promotion of tourism in the Agortime Traditional Area and unifying the people for socio-economic development.
Kente weaving has over the years provided jobs for thousands of citizens of the Agortime Traditional area both directly and indirectly and has therefore reduced rural urban migration especially by the youth in search of non-existing white colour jobs.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare said domestic tourism will improve local communities and improve livelihood especially in the rural areas and therefore called on all to support the Explore Ghana initiative.
She said the Agortime Traditional Area has one of the highest concentration of weavers in Ghana and beyond and therefore urged all stakeholders to preserve the uniqueness of the Kente cloth to ensure the sustainability of the Kente weaving industry in the area and its surroundings.
Madam Ofosu-Agyare also challenged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to join hands with my Ministry to develop all tourist sites up to the required international standard adding that her Ministry is ready to offer the requisite technical assistance to any assembly or local community which is ready to develop its tourist attraction.
The Volta Regional Minister, Helen Adzoa Ntoso called on the Agortime Traditional Area and the Ghana Tourism Authority to dialogue and find ways of facilitating the development of the tourism industry in the area.
The paramount Chief of Agortime Traditional Area, Nene Nuer Keteku drew government’s attention to the Kente Village Project as captured in the 2014 national budget saying it is an important venture that will create a lot of ancillary jobs and preserve the cultural heritage of Kente.
He also appealed to government to provide infrastructural assistance of to the Agortime Senior High school which has deteriorated over the years.