Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, has commenced rehabilitation and modernisation work on the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park to transform it into a world-class tourism park.
The facility, popularly known as the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, was built in 1992 but closed to the public in the recent past. According to the Tourism Ministry, it is currently not attractive to visitors.
At the official sod-cutting ceremony to begin rehabilitation work on the facility, Tourism Minister Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal said: “The current status of the park is not attractive to visitors, and is also not able to generate sufficient revenue to sustain itself”.
Past governments, he said, have not been able to support the park with adequate budgetary allocations, which has contributed to its deterioration, adding: “It was therefore expedient to close it down for a complete renovation”.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the park was registering an average 98,000 visitors annually. However, it is anticipated that visitor numbers will increase significantly from the current number to 400,000 annual tourists after rehabilitation.
Renovation of the facility, which is being supported by the World Bank Tourism Development Project, the Minister said, will entail total refurbishment of the Mausoleum and the Park; a new Presidential library, training centre; a new restaurant, VVIP lounge; and an artistic freedom wall as well as music and a light-fountain.
When completed by April 2023, the park is expected to create an additional 50 jobs and many indirect jobs to boost the country’s travel and tourism trade.
“The project is billed to be completed in nine months’ time, which is April 2023; but more importantly, we want to complete the facelift to coincide with the country’s Independence anniversary,” Dr. Awal said.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and resumption of international travel, Dr. Awal indicated that Ghana continues to anticipate a surge in visitor-numbers to one million international arrivals this year, with a corresponding revenue of US$2billion.
“With these plans, we therefore need to enhance our customer care orientation – which requires that all players along the tourism value chain be customer-focused to make the plan attainable,” he said.
The World Bank Group’s Programme Leader and Lead Specialist, Dr. Patrick Mullen, said there is a need to expand the economic impact of tourism to bring massive benefits for Ghanaians.
“The decision to renovate this facility is a feasible strategy that the World Bank supports, and it is proud to be associated with a nation such as this with a proud history. This is important not just for Ghanaians to memorialise and celebrate Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, but the entire region and the world,” Dr. Mullen noted.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah expressed optimism that the bouncing-back of tourism after the pandemic will serve as major tool in job-creation.
He asked media organisations, particularly radio and television stations, to design tourism-related programmes which drive visitor traffic into the country.