Professor Samuel Benjamin Owusu-Mintah, a Lecturer of Tourism Education at the Cape Coast Technical University (CCTU), has called on the government to make tourism education a core subject of study in pre-tertiary curricula.
He said the integration of tourism education into pre-tertiary curricula would inculcate the tenets of tourism in children, encourage research into local tourism issues, publication of textbooks, and form a strong collaboration between tourism educators, students, and industry players to sustain the sector.
Additionally, industry practitioners must establish business incubators in tertiary institutions, accept students for internships, allocate resources, and act as role models to students to create jobs and accelerate economic growth.
“I recommend that the integration of tourism education into pre-tertiary curricula will encourage more research into local tourism issues, publication of more tourism textbooks, and collaboration between tourism educators and industry players”, he added.
Prof Owusu-Mintah made the call during his Inaugural Lecture at CCTU on the topic: “Tourism education: Laying the golden egg for post-COVID-19 Ghana”, in Cape Coast.
The CCTU’s maiden Inaugural Lecture was also the first of its kind in any Technical University in Ghana.
In addition to that, Prof Owusu-Mintah further urged the government to empower Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies with the needed personnel and resources to spearhead the development and maintenance of tourism infrastructure, as part of the national strategic plan to revamp the sector to promote tourism to create jobs.
Prof Owusu-Mintah said the tourism and hospitality industry presented Ghana a fine opportunity to attract more visitors from across the globe to visit the country to eventually boost the local economy and sustain its status as a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“However, over the years, the tourism infrastructure had not seen much facelift or enhancements to ensure growth and development due to lack of maintenance culture, many of these infrastructures were in a deplorable state.
“Many interesting tourism and attraction sites are equally in appalling conditions, making them lose their values of attraction. The roads leading to our various tourist destinations are in a horrible state which made internal travels very difficult, hindering growth,” he stated.
Outlining his contributions to the tourism and hospitality industry, Prof Owusu-Mintah indicated that his literature on tourism development emanated from his publications on community participation in ecotourism development, transportation, tourism development in Western Region, and environmental management for tourism development in oil-producing areas in Ghana.
Prof Owusu-Mintah highlighted major challenges facing tourism studies in the Technical Universities in Ghana and said before the conversion, Polytechnic teachers were less visible due to inadequate staffing with many Lecturers concentrated on extra loads than research and publications.
Right Reverend Prof Joshua Danso Owusu-Sekyere, the Vice-Chancellor of CCTU reiterated the need for the government to inculcate the essence of tourism in pupils to help sustain the sector.