One of the major socio-economic activities gaining grounds in Ghana is tourism. This has gradually become one of the most important and fastest growing sectors of the Ghanaian economy. Tourism still maintains its position as Ghana’s 4th highest foreign exchange earner only after gold, cocoa, and oil. This is remarkable to say the least considering the other giant sectors that exist. International arrivals seem to be the mainstay for the tourism industry in Ghana although domestic tourism contributes a little. As the years go by and as tourism gains grounds in this country, it is hoped that there will be a balance. Some of the major tourist sites in the country include the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Aburi Botanical Gardens, The Kumasi Zoological Gardens, The Kakum National Park, Shai Hills Resource Reserve and Mole National Park. Many other tourist sites make Ghana a go to destination and the potential for growth is remarkable. As we enter the final few weeks of the year, Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website takes a quick look at the sector over the past eleven months.
Tourism Ambassadors – Earlier this year, the Ghana Tourism Authority outdoored about 30 tourism ambassadors to help drive the sector forward. The Ambassadors, who cut across different creative arts sectors including Musicians, Actors, Radio Presenters, Disc Jockeys (DJ) and Bloggers were tasked to promote both domestic and international tourism to boost Ghana’s economic growth. Their task was simple. These distinguished men and women were to enhance, develop and deliver destination management objectives and potentially help position Ghana as a tourist destination of choice. They were also charged to use their personalities and expertise to sell Ghana’s tourism potential to the world. The ambassadors chosen included SP Kofi Sarpong, D-Black, Nana Ampadu, Okyeame Kwame, Fancy Gadam, Agya Koo, Lucky Mensah, Sena Dagadu, Reggie N Bollie among others.
World Tourism Forum – In October this year, under the auspices of H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akufo- Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Creative arts with support from the Ghana Tourism Authority and Ghana Tourist Development Company, the World Tourism Forum – Africa Summit was held in Accra, Ghana. This unique forum which was the first of its kind held in Africa brought together stakeholders, investors, policy makers and many other players in the Tourism & Hospitality sector to discuss and debate several topics channeled toward the development and sustainability of tourism in Africa, particularly Ghana. Many international tourism experts mounted the stage at various times to share knowledge on strategies as well as plans to make tourism in Ghana and Africa better. Although this was a global event, the benefits to Ghana as a growing tourism country was enormous. The global tourism eyes were firmly on Ghana, many got employed and we had the opportunity to showcase our rich culture and tradition.
Ghana’s tourism sector recorded worst performance in 1st half of 2017 – Statistics released by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) shows that the tourism sector recorded its worst Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Projects performance in 10 years for the first half of 2017. Although this should not breed calls for despair or panic, it is a clear indication that there is more room for improvement. A lot needs to be done to rectify this and maybe in the final analysis, a strong performance in the second half of the year will help balance things. That notwithstanding, the sector needs an extra push to maintain it’s steady growth and status as Ghana’s 4th highest foreign exchange earner after gold, cocoa, and oil. We have the potential, let’s do wonders in the coming years to position Ghana as one of Africa’s top tourism hubs.
Eat, See, Fear, & Wear Ghana campaign – Probably the most vibrant campaign in Ghana this year, the Ghana tourism Authority with the strong support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Creative Arts and The Ghana Tourist Development Company launched the ‘’Eat Ghana, Feel Ghana, See Ghana, and Wear Ghana campaign’’. This campaign was introduced to promote local products and destinations with many domestic enterprises benefitting from this push. Many Ghanaians were tasked to wear Ghanaian made outfits, eat Ghanaian food, visit Ghanaian tourist locations and monuments as well as feel the country as a whole. Through this, many international travellers and businessmen will be encouraged as well to patronize Ghanaian products and enjoy the true beauty, culture and tradition of mother Ghana.
Ghana Ups drive to boost tourist arrivals – Ghana has upped its effort at making sure that operators in the hospitality industry meet set standards as the nation aggressively pushes towards raising more revenue from tourism. The aim was to ensure that the operations of industry players were consistent with globally acceptable standards. Agreeable, we can all attest to the fact that tourism development could bring enormous benefits to the economy, create job opportunities and wealth for the people. In addition, Ghana will become a go-to destination for many tourists and international travelers. Standards are key to the development of any tourism sector worldwide and it’s about time Ghana took it seriously. Professionalism, service delivery, technology, health, sanitation and hospitality rank among the various parameters which were to be closely looked at. In the end, all these will only contribute in making Ghana’s tourism better and competitive.
As we march on to 2018, we can only look back at a year of great learning in our tourism sector. Some may deem it highly successful while others may consider it less so. The debate however is irrelevant at this point and the main objective is not to determine who is right and who is wrong. In the end, we did a lot of things right and some things wrong. Where do we go from here? The answer is simple! We just need to keep improving the good stuff and do away with the less productive ones. Ghana is beautiful, amazing and unique with great tourism potential. 2018, here we come!!!
Credit : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel