The Vice Presidential Debate hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs for the vice presidential candidates of four parties with representation in parliament came off yesterday at the Akromah Plaza Hotel in Sekondi-Takoradi.
Several issues of national interest were discussed by the candidates representing the National Democratic Congress(NDC), the Convention People’s Party(CPP), the People’s National Convention(PNC) and the New Patriotic Party(NPP).
One topic that was debated over by the four was on how their parties will stimulate growth in the tourism sector.
Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, running mate to President John Dramani Mahama, explained that with a growth in the econonmy more hotels will be built so that lower fees will be charged.
He mentioned that the National Tourism Authority has been charged by the ruling government to develop more tourist sites.
“We need to make Ghana a much more preferred destination than it is now,” he said.
He also announced that when endorsed for the next four years, his party will provide a national carrier “to provide comfort to many to Ghana.”
CPP’s Cherita Sarpong also known as Nana Frimpongmaa Kumankuma, stressed that domestic tourism should be given a priority.
“We have a lot of historic centres that a Ghanaian can visit,” she pointed out, citing that Ghana’s situation in the centre of the world can kick-start a domestic tourism drive.
She also says a CPP government led by Dr Abu Sakara Forster will find creative ways of bringing people to Ghana before devising a way of taxing them.
She also advocated total tourism package.
“We have to look at sanitation, maintenance and transportation,” she concluded.
Running mate to Hassan Ayariga, Helen Sanorita Matrevi, also emphasized domestic tourism explaining that students from schools and colleges will be sent to tourist sites.
She also expatiated on private sector involvement in the hotel sector.
“We will streamline the sector,” she said, “and hotels will be sited near tourist sites.”
She also touched on her government rehabilitating the beaches to make them more attractive if voted for.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia of the NPP admitted the competition Ghana finds itself in with other sub-Saharan African countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Therefore, he called for improvement in the sanitation conditions.
“With poor sanitation and water pollution comes health risks,” he said, stressing that no foreigner will want to visit a country with poor sanitation.
He also mentioned that the energy sector will be addressed as the current “dumso dumso” condition will not attract any tourists.
He also explained that a Nana Akufo-Addo-led government will ensure that more visa-on-arrivals are issued to ease the process in visiting Ghana for tourists.
He also explained that roads will be constructed while hotels will be given tax incentives.