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Investing In Domestic Tourism: The Role of the Stakeholder

By Christabel Adjei-Danso

 

Ghana is blessed with lots of tourists’ attractions which include kakum national park, Wli waterfalls, Afadzato, Nzulezo Stilt Village, Lake Bosomtwi, Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary, Cape Coast Castle, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Paga Crocodile pond, Mole National Park, Elmina Castle, Aburi Botanical Gardens, Lake Volta and a host of others.

 

The tourism industry is now the second fastest growing industry in terms of foreign direct investments. It contributes to income generation, employment, and foreign exchange earnings. The industry can, therefore, play a pivotal role in the economic development of a country.

 

It is the only industry that stimulates the economy — tourists sleep in hotels, management of the hotels buy food, farmers and people in the food chain and hotel staff will spend the money on their needs, thereby making the money the tourists spent in the hotel go round different stages in the economic. In other words, because of the multiplicity of tourism consumption, its economic effect is felt broadly in other production sectors, contributing to each case toward achieving the aims of accelerated development.

 

On the socio-cultural front, tourism serves as a cultural preserver. Traditional festivals celebrated across Ghana attracts tourists. Communities with tourists’ site portray their cultural artifacts and sometimes stage their cultures for tourists at the request of tourists. This prevents such cultures from dying and further preserve and protect the varied Ghanaian identity being handed over by our forefathers.

 

Ghana has aimed at becoming one of the top 20 global tourist destinations by the 2020 vision, and the only way is for the tourist industry to leverage on the ability of a destination to deliver on experiences of the highest quality. It is therefore imperative we invest in the tourism sector to reap the maximum benefit of the industry. The government and stakeholders in the tourism industry can play a significant role in this regard to encourage and boost patronage at the various tourism sites. When there is a massive investment by stakeholders, it will contribute to the socio-economic growth and development of the country and increase the government's revenue mobilization drive.

 

It is for this reason that the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts’ intention of providing affordable accommodation to people who patronize the country’s tourist attractions, is worth commending. The Ministry is partnering with private investors to put up a chain of hotels, call Akwaaba Hotels, across the country. They will be eco-friendly hotels conceptualized with the low budget tourist in mind, especially Ghanaian domestic tourists.

 

It will be funded under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement through which the Government of Ghana, through the Ghana Tourist Development Company Limited, will use the land as equity while the private sector investor provides the funds for the actual construction. This is the kind of stakeholder investment that can boost the tourism sector in Ghana.

 

This year has been declared a ‘Year of Return’ which the country intends to use as a bridge to build stronger ties between Ghana, those on the Continent, and the African Diaspora. Ghana is expecting about 500,000 visitors this year to celebrate the ‘Year of Return’, therefore, hospitality owners must develop their facilities to attract these visitors. When visitors get good experiences and memories of places they have toured, they will be motivated to frequently visit the sites to enjoy these facilities they did in their past experiences. People who support tourism programmes, must also be awarded often because in one way or the other is also serves as an investment in domestic tourism.

 

As President Akufo-Addo said when he addressed the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday, June 12, 2019: "Our foods are interesting and tend to be once sampled, never forgotten. I suspect I do not need to remind you that we are the home of Kente, the fabric that has come to define the black race everywhere, and we lead in fashion on the continent. Our music is catchy and unforgettable, and the drums and rhythms make us stand out.”

 

Hence, everybody must get involved — the food vendor, the art gallery owners, kente and smock weavers, musicians, hoteliers, and all industry players — to sell Ghana to the outside world, increase tourists arrivals to boost Ghana’s economy.

 

The writer is a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism on internship at the Information Services Department 

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