Ama Achiaa Amankwah
This year's World Tourism Day will be celebrated at Kpando-Toko in the Volta Region under the theme "Tourism, Responding to the Challenges of Climate Change."
Activities to mark the day which falls on September 27, 2008 include tree planting exercises, a durbar of the chiefs and launch of a green school project that will encourage schools to adopt the practise of greening their environment.
The project which will be on pilot basis for schools in the Volta Region will be monitored for a year after which deserving schools will be awarded.
A major national sensitization seminar will also be held on September 23, 2008, aimed at whipping enthusiasm in the public.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Minister for Tourism, Mr. Kofi Osei Ameyaw, said the theme flowed from the negative effects of global warming and how best to deal with the challenge.
He noted that the tourism sector contributes immensely to the social and economic development of the country and that Ghana is emerging as a fast tourism destination, where people come to enjoy her peace, good governance and stability.
According to him, tourism activities contributes about four to six percent to green house emissions and stated the urgent need for government and all and sundry to join in the crusade by developing and implementing strategies to fight climate change.
"We need to create awareness, mitigate green house emission and encourage use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation of water resources."
He called on the media to partner the sector ministry in the crusade to sensitize the public to develop positive attitudes towards the environment.
Mr. Ameyaw announced that Ghana has been chosen to host the UN World Tourism Day next year. The recognition given to Ghana, he said is a strong signal that the tourism industry is developing into a national player.
Reacting to concerns about the sanitation crisis currently facing Ghana vis-à-vis tourism development, he stressed that the problem of sanitation is not exclusive to the tourism sector.
He said it is incumbent on all to fight it and deduced that the rapid increase in population and urban migration are major determinants to the problem.
He disclosed that plans are afoot to initiate a Coastal Management Authority to keep the various beaches and sites clean.