Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, has tasked the new Board of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) to turn the country’s museums and forts into profit centres.
He said, “most museums across the world are profit centres, and as such we must ensure to do same, by developing a marketing strategy on how to drive people both internal and external to these forts and museums.”
Dr Awal was speaking at the inauguration of the GMMB Board in Accra on Wednesday.
The Board comprises of Dr Edith Dankwa, as the Chairperson, Mr Kingsley Ofosu Ntiamoah, Mr Hudu Issah, Nana Kodwo Eduakwa V, Nana Ofosuaa Ofori-Atta Ayim, Umar Abdul Hamid, Dr Samuel Adu Gyamfi, Professor Wazi Appoh, Dr Edwin Bodjawa and Prof Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, as Members.
He said the GMMB, although with particularly good potential, had been a sleeping giant in the past years, and there was the need for a change in thinking to help it achieve its mandate.
“I want the board to present a proposal within the next six to eight weeks on how to modernize, improve and turn our museums, forts and castles into profit centres, as well as tourist attractions,” he said.
He said 65 to 70 per cent of all the forts and castles used during the colonial era across Africa could be found in Ghana, but they Have not been used well to attract tourists.
“We have over 30 museums and castles in this country but since independence have not been modernized or rehabilitated. This is our first attempt to modernize them because our unique selling position in terms of tourism is our forts and castles,” he said.
Dr Awal noted that the National Museum, which had been closed for over eight years, had been renovated and would be opened by June this year, and as such the Board must work on how it could be modernized to attract local and international tourists.
“The Ministry will start the renovation of most of the Forts and Castles by June, but the problem is not rehabilitation, it is how we make sure that they continue to attract tourists and money for the country,” he added.
He reiterated that “our museums and castles must not only showcase our cultural heritage but also generate some monies to preserve it. Last year, tourism rose to over 100 per cent, we are expecting one million international and 800,000 tourists and if we have half of them, visiting our museums we would generate lots of funds.”
The Minister urged the Board not to work in isolation from the other agencies under the Ministry but to collaborate with them to be able to achieve their mandate.
Dr Dankwa, on behalf of members, expressed appreciation to the President for the nomination, saying they would come on board with experiences in their various endeavours to sever the nation in their capacities.
She said there were many potentials to monetize the museums to turn the fortunes of the nation around because museums were now moving from just telling history to predicting what a nation or people of a nation would be in future.
“We have so much as a country so we will bring our efforts together to direct the affairs of the board and ensure that people internally and globally will be able to understand who we are and what we stand for through our museums,” she said.