The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Mark Okraku-Mantey, called for the awareness and training of young people in the process of conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage for sustainable tourism development.
According to him, the involvement of individuals in raising awareness would better preserve the heritage of humanity, improve living conditions and reduce poverty.
“Preserving the cultural and natural heritage, to make it accessible to all, to make cultures and civilizations better known, to improve daily living conditions and to reduce poverty, this is what gives meaning to the sustainability of tourism development,” he added.
The minister revealed this at the opening of this year’s World Folklore Day in Accra yesterday.
Under the theme “Arousing the interest of African youth in folklore for sustainable development”, it aims to inspire young people to better understand the essence of folklore in the development of a sustainable economy.
This year’s commemoration saw the participation of Kenya, Togo, Namibia, Gambia and Togo.
Folklore or intangible cultural heritage refers to the means of expressing one’s culture, including music, dance, art, designs, names, symbols and signs, performances, ceremonies, architectural forms , crafts and stories, languages or any artistic cultural expression.
Mr. Okraku-Mantey said the ministry, in partnership with the National Council of Folklore and other cultural agencies, was working hard to develop and implement tourism policies and activities involving the participation of communities, especially young people. , the preservation and enhancement of Ghanaian cultural heritage. long-term.
The initiative, he said, would create a strong relationship between tourism and culture to help Ghana become a competitive and attractive place to live, visit and make business investments to foster sustainability and development.
“Let’s keep in mind that a thriving cultural economy has the potential to improve a country’s social and economic status as well as contribute positively to the lives of our communities,” he said.
The Executive Director of the National Folklore Council, Madame Bernice Ann-Deh Kumah, said that sustainable development was an important topic in African countries and therefore every factor that contributed to or promoted it should be carefully considered, whether whether it is tangible or intangible cultural heritage, adding “nothing should be left out”.
She said that the National Folklore Council is taking the necessary steps to compile a national register of intangible cultural heritage and following the procedure to inscribe it on the World Heritage Register in order to attract tourists to the country.
“In this regard, we must collaborate with our neighboring African countries to enable us to be inscribed on the World Heritage Register, because some intangible cultural heritages are similar in most African countries,” she added.
Professor Kodzo Gavua, Lecturer at the University of Ghana – Department of Archaeology, on his part said that it was imperative for Africans to redefine themselves in a way that would give an edge over their counterparts, adding ” And for this to be achieved, young people must seek, study and learn about African ways of life, especially folklore.”
He said that in recent times, Africans have tended to accept whatever is presented to them without screening, which has led to a lack of trust and a misunderstanding of values.
“Once we start appreciating what we have, we will be able to ensure that we have our dignity and satisfaction. Studying folklore will also challenge us to think logically and bring us back to understanding ourselves,” added Professor Gavua.