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Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Will Have Implications On Tourism Sector – Egyapa Mercer3 min read

Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Will Have Implications On Tourism Sector – Egyapa Mercer<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">3</span> min read</span>


The Minister-designate for Tourism, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, believes the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill (Anti-LGBTQ Bill) will affect tourism in Ghana if assented to.

Addressing Parliament’s vetting committee on Tuesday, March 5, Mr Mercer highlighted that while Ghana has its unique cultural identity, the enactment of the bill might deter some individuals from visiting the country, thus affecting tourism.

However, he believes that tourism may not take that much of a big hit if the country promotes domestic tourism where citizens are encouraged to explore the country.

He stated that domestic tourism could mitigate the potential downturn in international tourist arrivals.

“I mean our culture is our culture, ultimately. And so if people want to experience our culture, it really matters whether we are opposed to a certain lifestyle within our cultural setting. But it all comes down to how you promote Ghana and position ourselves within the law, that is if the President assents to it,” he said.

Mr Mercer added “All I can say is that it definitely will have an impact one way or the other. Some people who believe that lifestyle should be allowed everywhere may find Ghana unattractive. Some people who believe in our culture would find Ghana an attractive place.”

The Tourism Minister-designate emphasised the significance of effectively marketing Ghana both to its citizens and foreign tourists to sustain tourism growth.

“….We are encouraging people to visit our country as opposed to others. If you promote domestic tourism, that will then help us to deal with whatever shortfalls or issues that may arise from some lack of interest because of this law,” Mr Mercer added.

Parliament passed the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on Wednesday, February 28.

Among other things, the bill punishes those who take part in LGBTQ sexual acts, as well as those who promote the rights of gay, lesbian or other non-conventional sexual or gender identities with time in prison.

Although a section of the public have welcomed the bill, others including CHRAJ have raised many concerns including discrimination against people and their freedoms as stated in the constitution.

However, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, says no part of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill (Anti-LGBTQ Bill) infringes on the laws in the 1992 constitution.

Already, the Finance Ministry has advised President Akufo-Addo against signing it, expressing concerns that the country could face serious financial challenges if the president goes ahead to assent to the bill.

The ministry warned that Ghana could lose more than $3 billion in funding from the World Bank for various programmes and projects.

In response, President Akufo-Addo reassured the international community of Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights despite the recent passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, popularly known as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

Addressing concerns during a diplomatic engagement, the President emphasised that Ghana remains steadfast in its long-standing reputation for respecting human rights and adherent to the rule of law.

He clarified that the Bill is facing a legal challenge at the Supreme Court and that until a decision is arrived at, no action would be taken by his government on the private Member’s bill.