The initiative is to strengthen security at the various tourist sites and create a safe business environment to boost the sector.
Mrs Owusu-Fianko said the global increase in cases of terrorism and the gradual decline in the quality of tourist attractions due to environmental degradation militated against the effective development of the sector.
“Our disrespect for the environment through the reckless dumping of rubbish at unauthorised places, pollution of water bodies, degrading of our forests and mountains and abandonment of some of our cultural historical sites have greatly affected the development of tourism,” she said.
She said awareness creation, improved road and transportation network, health risk awareness and effective stakeholder collaboration were critical in developing the tourism sector.
TOSS exhibition, conference
The 2016 TOSS exhibition and conference, which is scheduled for May 25-28, 2016, is on the theme: “Promoting tourism through safety awareness: Keeping our environment clean for healthy tourism development”.
It will bring together people from various business backgrounds, including corporate bodies, civil society organisations, investors and development partners.
A day’s forum to deliberate on safety and security in the tourism industry will form part of the conference.
Recommendations will be made towards formalising the safety and security of both tourists and host communities.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, observed that the launch of the initiative by TOSS was timely, given the fact that terrorism had deprived countries of tourism traffic.
She noted that the collaboration with stakeholders, such as the Ghana Police Service, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) would boost the fortunes of the sector.
The Minister of the Interior, Mr Prosper Bani, whose speech was also read on his behalf, urged the public to be vigilant of the activities of terrorists who took advantage of public places of gathering to attack.
He said it was only when the public collaborated with the security agencies that security of the tourism sector could be guaranteed.
The President of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), Mr David Nana Anim, said it took shared responsibility and sensitivity to be able to appreciate early warning signs and identify and deal decisively with crimes in the sector.