YOTOFEST 2022 OPENS IN WINNEBA
The University of Education, Winneba on Tuesday July 19, 2022, hosted the opening ceremony of the 2022 Youth in Tourism Festival (YOTOFEST) at the Jophus Anamoah Mensah Hall at the North Campus of the University on the theme, “The Youth, Tourism and Sanitation.
The Week-long event being the first for the Central Region was organized by the Tourism Society of Ghana in collaboration with the University of Education, Winneba and designed to allow young participants to be part of a unique experience aimed at promoting youth engagement in the tourism sector and empowering younger generations to initiate more sustainable domestic tourism promotions.
Speaking at the Ceremony, the Municipal Chief Executive for the Effutu Municipal Assembly, Hon Alhaji Zubairu Kassim, noted that prioritizing youth participation in tourism would ensure the potential of enhancing youth empowerment and engagement in tourism, create tourism business incubation hubs and partnerships for the youth.
He stressed on the need to improve on the sanitation situations at the various tourist sites across the country to drive in investors as well as commercialize it for profit to boost the local economies.
Touting the Tourism opportunities available in the Effutu Municipality, Hon. Zubairu Kassim, said that the area can boast of two enviable festivals that drive in people from all walks of life to congregate in Winneba to experience the rich culture and artistry exhibited during the period. He mentioned the Aboakyir and Masquerading festivals as events which continue to give a boost to the economy of Winneba.
He hinted of plans by the Assembly to partner with the Forestry Commission to give a facelift to the famous Winneba Ramsar Site which provide a hunting grounds for the Asafo Companies in Winneba to hunt for Deer during the Aboakyir festival to enable tourists appreciate the processes involved in the Deer hunting expedition.
The Guest Speaker, Dr. Henry Nyameke Jnr, who is also the Managing Director of Venaco Lodge Limited on his part said that there was a strong connection between sanitation and tourism growth in Ghana making the cleanliness and the sustainability of the environment crucial if Ghana wants turn its tourism fortune around.
He said tourism presents various opportunities at all levels to cause among others infrastructural development as well as rake in foreign exchange needed for a country’s development.
Dr. Nyameke Jnr, noted that the impact of Covid 19 pandemic caused a shift of the focus of the tourism sector on international tourism to domestic tourism. This he said required the active participation of the youth to develop the sector in that regard for national development to reduce youth unemployment and over dependence on Government for employment.
Touching in the importance of the “YOTOFEST 2022 Festival, Dr. Nyameke Jnr said that the event was aimed at implementing a comprehensive analysis of the problems and prospects to find ways to develop youth tourism in the country and create a new model for work in this area, as well as active participation in the sustainable development of youth tourism in Ghana.
The paramount Chief of the Effutu Traditional Area, Nenyi Ghartey VII, encouraged the youth to take advantage of the grey areas in the country’s cultural heritage to improve their lot by fostering the relationship with the active role of traditional authority for a responsible tomorrow, adding that Arts and culture will yield fruits and impact on the youth in Ghana.
Some activities lined up for the week-long festival include, tourism business investor pitch and incubation, youth and community durbar, the big tree fun fair and domestic tours, awards and gala dinner night, clean up exercise and a street art carnival.
STORY BY: CHARLES BAAH ABOAGYE
ISD- EFFUTU MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY