The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Mohammed Awal has justified his ministry’s ‘funeral tourism’ initiative, saying Ghanaians love funerals, so it will help boost the local economy wherever a funeral is being held in the country.
According to him, the ministry will provide buses to convey tourists free of charge to funeral grounds wherever they are taking place in Ghana to witness the cultural performances and patronize the various tourist attraction sites in those localities, their local cuisine and other things of interest.
Dr Awal, speaking at an event in Kumasi in connection with the ‘funeral tourism’, said that his ministry is working with the Ghana Tourism Authority and other stakeholders to bring the idea to fruition.
It would be recalled that his Deputy Minister, Mark Okraku-Mantey in an interview with Andy Dosty on Joy Entertainment’s Daybreak Hitz last year hinted at the initiative and got trolled by a section of Ghanaians who said the idea was bizarre.
According to him, his boss had come up with the idea of using funerals to sell Ghana’s rich culture to the world.
He explained further that cultural displays that accompany Ghanaian funerals lately have the potential to influence tourists to visit the various parts of the country to witness them.
Okraku-Mantey added that Muslims bury the dead on the same day of demise or just a day after but Christians preserve the corpse for longer before burial and all forms of rituals are performed during the funeral that may be of interest to tourists.
“You [Christians] keep your bodies [corpse], and there are things you do that can attract people to go to a particular town.
“…whether we like it or not, in the Ashanti Region, a funeral is a big deal,” the deputy minister said.
Now, it appears the ministry is bent on implementing the initiative and is taking steps to roll it out in earnest, hence sensitization programmes are being held to get the buy-in of Ghanaians. Pulsegh