The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2017 Budget statement to Parliament , Thursday and here is the provision for the tourism, culture and creative arts industry.
‘’Mr. Speaker, Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts remains one of the most underdeveloped sectors in our economy despite the immense growth potential and opportunities for job creation.
When developed, the sector can positively impact the lives of many individuals, families, communities and small enterprises in our country and providing needed jobs for our teeming youth.
Our objective is to transform the country into a major Meeting, Incentive Conference and Exhibition center (MICE). To facilitate this we will aggressively develop our tourist sites to bring them to world class standards. In 2017, the Government will kick start the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project covering the over 240 acres of land from Osu Christiansborg Castle to the Arts Center.
This project will transform the beach area into a tourism enclave to create jobs for our teeming youth. The Ministry will partner the private sector to develop the Efua Sutherland Park into an ultra-modern world class Park. Specifically for 2017, Mr. Speaker, we will use IT to promote and market tourism via the single portal window.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will also undertake a food festival to showcase the diverse rich Ghanaian foods through cooking competition throughout the country.’’
The Minister also announced that the establishment of an Airport Free Zone which is aimed at maximizing investments in the airports to create jobs.
‘’ Mr. Speaker, airports all over the world are becoming increasingly multimodal, multi-functional enterprises creating considerable opportunities for commercial developments in areas they are located. Available evidence suggests that airports tend to attract investment and therefore generate jobs.
Many countries are considering airport cities, or aerotropolis (airportcentred urban economic regions) as a vital means of expanding opportunities and creating jobs. Mr. Speaker, Government has identified the establishment of sector-targeted Free Zones as a major driver for capital inflows and jobs for Ghanaians starting, this year, with the preparatory work for attracting private investment into an Airport Free Zone (AFZ).
The AFZ will be purely a private sector investment with government only facilitating the process. Government will explore several options with potential investors. It is expected that the preparatory work for the AFZ will be completed by the end of this fiscal year, ‘’ the Minister stated.
Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta also indicated that government will abolish the 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets.