Home » Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Risks Impacting Ghana’s Tourism, Minister Warns

Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Risks Impacting Ghana’s Tourism, Minister Warns

Tourism Sector Faces Challenges with New Legislation, Says Mercer

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
Tourism Sector Faces Challenges with New Legislation, Says Mercer

Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, the newly appointed Minister for Tourism in Ghana, recently shed light on the possible repercussions of the controversial Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, popularly known as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, on the nation’s tourism industry. Speaking before Parliament’s vetting committee on March 5, Mercer underscored the delicate balance Ghana must strike between preserving its cultural identity and fostering a welcoming environment for international tourists.

The bill, which received parliamentary approval on February 28, aims to penalize LGBTQ+ activities and advocacy, stirring a nationwide debate on its implications for human rights and Ghana’s international image. While some citizens have endorsed the bill, citing adherence to cultural and family values, it has also attracted criticism for potentially infringing on individual freedoms as guaranteed by the constitution.

According to a report by MyJoyOnline, Mercer, acknowledging the complexity of the issue, suggested that the bill could deter certain international visitors who view such legislation as contrary to global human rights standards. However, he posited that a strategic emphasis on domestic tourism could offset any potential decline in international visitors, encouraging Ghanaians to explore the beauty and diversity of their own country.

“Our culture is our culture, ultimately,” Mercer remarked, emphasizing the importance of marketing Ghana effectively to both domestic and international audiences. He highlighted the need to position Ghana in a manner that respects its laws and cultural norms, while still appealing to a broad spectrum of tourists.

The debate around the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill extends beyond social and cultural realms into economic considerations. The Finance Ministry has raised alarms over the potential financial fallout, warning that assenting to the bill could jeopardize more than $3 billion in World Bank funding earmarked for various developmental projects and programs. This cautionary stance reflects concerns over the broader economic implications of the legislation, underscoring the interconnectedness of human rights issues with national development and international cooperation.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, in response to the bill’s passage and the ensuing controversy, has reassured both the national and international communities of Ghana’s unwavering commitment to human rights. With the bill currently facing a legal challenge at the Supreme Court, the President has urged patience, emphasizing that no further action will be taken until the court has made its decision.

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