By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, April 25, GNA - As part of activities marking the 93rd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana on Wednesday held a cocktail reception in honour of the Queen in Accra.
Madam Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice was the special guest of honour, at the event which was attended by government officials, members of the diplomatic community, politicians, representatives of civil society organisations, the clergy and heads of corporate entities.
Mr Walker, who focused his remarks on tourism, said played a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of many nations of the world and was able to protect and preserve humanities most valuable cultural and environmental treasures of the world.
He said tourism created jobs and that globally 111 jobs were linked to travels and tourism.
He said research showed that tourism had proportionally twice as many employees as other sectors and 10 per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) was based on tourism; stating that globally the numbers were significant.
He said international tourists’ arrivals went up globally last year by seven per cent to 1.3 billion people travelling, generating $1.6 trillion in exporting earnings globally and the UK’s tourism market was expected to reach $70 billion by 2020.
The High Commissioner urged Ghana to strengthen its tourism industry for its benefit adding that in August this year, he would be embarking on a bicycle ride from Paga to Accra as part of efforts to raise funds for the Burns and Plastic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana conveyed the country’s warm felicitations to the Queen and also to the Government and the people of the UK and Northern Ireland on the happy occasion.
The President’s Message was conveyed by Madam Akuffo who recounted that the past year was a busy one for both countries in terms of their bilateral relations.
She lauded Mr Walker for arranging in November 2018, high-profile visits to Ghana by some of Britain's most eminent dignitaries and leaders, including; the Princes of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.
She said the visits by the Royal Family and British Government leaders and, visits to the UK by the President and the Vice President was a clear demonstration of the flourishing longstanding friendship between the two nations.
She said Ghana continues to be a proud and committed member of the Commonwealth.
Madam Akuffo said President Akufo-Addo has declared 2019 as the, "The Year of Return" for people of African descent around the world to come home to Ghana to experience and enjoy the warmth of the people and the environment, while exploring opportunities to invest and build economic partnership in the country.