The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim MohammedAwal, has expressed his ministry’s desire to leverage funerals to drive domestic tourism.
“When there are funerals, people gather at places,” he noted.
He revealed: “What we want to do with the Ghana Tourism Authority, GTA, is that whenever there are funerals, we’ll also find tourist attractions in those areas where the funerals occur so that when they finish, [we can] bus those who attend the funerals to key tourist sites”.
He added: “We’re going to serve a lot of Ghanaian dishes at the funerals, Ghanaian drinks, sobolo [hibiscus tea] and co.”
Dr Awal observed that “Ghanaians love funerals,” and it is fertile ground for tourism.
He noted the drive to use funerals to foster domestic tourism “is voluntary”.
| MoTAC leader Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal
Revealing more about how the initiative will be executed, he said, announcements will be made at various funeral stations and programmes.
Attendees could then, if they are in the Ashanti Region for instance, be driven “to Bonwire” to see the iconic kente weaving process.
“People are selling kente and sandals there, when you go there, you spend your money,” the MoTAC boss added to highlight the economic relevance of the initiative also.
According to him, participants on these spontaneous tours will be bused “for free”.
At the various sites to be visited, tourists, he said, will find “restaurants and chop bars there, they’ll go and sit down there, they’ll eat, buy water, artefacts, thereby enriching the local economy and providing jobs”.
Finally, he encouraged citizens and visitors to Ghana “to take advantage of funerals to explore tourist attractions, and deepen cultural access, thereby creating jobs for our youth”.
On his part, the Deputy CEO of the GTA, Ekow Samson, said funerals “move people from their usual abode to another place” and this provides an opportunity to discover the various attractions scattered across the 16 regions of Ghana.
He noted that the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and his team are actively looking at ways to “effectively promote domestic tourism”.
| Local and international attendees at a funeral
| Photo by Samantha Reinders: An elaborate hand-carved coffin in the shape of a catfish
| Dancing pallbearers performing at a funeral