The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has called for South-South co-operation between Ghana and Cuba through intensified exchanges in the sector.
The Minister made this call in Accra when the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, Annette Chao Garcia, paid a courtesy call on him at his office on Monday 14th March 2022.
Dr. Awal added that the cultural exchanges would be beneficial to both countries because they could afford them the opportunities to share ideas and pick lessons from the Cuban success story.
“We want to look at customer care especially and how we can attract and retain tourists which is the biggest issue of the sector,” he indicated.
He said, his vision for the sector was to attract tourists who would repeat their visit to Ghana with their family and friends as the years go by.
He noted that cultural exchanges would enable Ghanaians to learn how Cubans treat tourists at the beaches and restaurants to make them happy.
He also revealed that plans are far advanced to organise charter flights to bring tourists from Cuba and vice versa at least every fortnightly.
The minister said he wants to increase the number of tourists who visit Ghana from 1.1 million in 2019 to 2 million by 2024 and added that, his vision would be achieved through the massive rehabilitation of forts and castles.
The ministry, he noted, was in the process of developing a national festival that would enhance the diverse and rich cultural heritage of Ghana.
On her part, Ambassador Annette Chao Garcia said Ghana can attract the needed investment in the tourism sector because of the beautiful cultural history the country can boast of.
She added that three key things that make Ghana the preferred destination for many tourists are being a safe country, having more resources, and generally being a peaceful country.
She indicated that the highest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cuba was the Human Capital.
Madam Garcia added that of the 11 million population in Cuba 30% are blacks who are of Yoruba descent in Nigeria and Congo.
She revealed that the Cubans celebrate movie festivals and the Ballet dance festival which attracts lots of tourists to their country.
She, therefore, urged the minister to address flight challenges between Ghana and Cuba to make the collaboration smooth.
She said she would coordinate with the tourism minister in Cuba to extend an invitation to Dr Awal to begin it.
The Minister at the end of the interaction presented Madam Garcia with a beyond the return wrist band and tourism passport.