An average of 2,000 mortalities per year over the past 5 years in Ghana via road accidents is alarming to say the least. Why should so many die from something that can either be avoided completely or reduced to the barest minimum. Anytime we hear of road accidents, we tend to concentrate on the lives lost rather than on the lives we should protect.
The fact that a fatal road accident happens on a particular road doesn’t mean that road will be closed hence the tendency of many more accidents there. What causes these accidents? Can they be avoided or corrected? What can we do to prevent these? To answer these questions, we do not need a professor or an expert. We already know because road accidents didn’t start last night. One major concern is that, they have become rampant and frequently unattended to. However, the demise of one popular Ghanaian musician has ignited the need to pay close attention to this and find long lasting solutions. On the effects of road accidents, we can identify over a dozen but one industry that often takes a hit when road accidents are on the rise is the tourism industry. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website takes a critical look at how these rampant road accidents affect the growth and development of tourism in Ghana.
Safety concerns - Top of every tourist’s checklist of reasons to travel to a particular destination is safety. A tourist is only a tourist because after all the travelling and experiences, he/she goes back home safe and sound to tell the stories. The frequent news of road accidents in Ghana only raises eyebrows as to whether these tourists are safe around here. In an era where technology is advanced and social media makes news travel faster than before, you expect every Tom, Dick and Harry in this world to hear of and see whatever happens around the world. Especially when the news is about a popular figure, it goes so far that even the uninterested person will get to know. This invariably means that, tourists who would otherwise want to visit and explore Ghana will begin to tag Ghana as unsafe. The desire to see and experience our rich culture and heritage will be outweighed by the possibility of getting hurt or even dying through road accidents.
Mobility - A tourist never stays in one place. That’s even not in his DNA. Mobility is the order of the day and every tourist wants to go from one place to the other in a safe and convenient manner. Movement is only possible if the means and facilities to do so are all intact. With the rampant road accidents in the country at the moment, many tourists will fear to go round the country or to even visit certain places that are renowned for prevalent accidents. The effect of this is low arrivals of tourists and a massive decrease in revenue from tourist sites.
Decreased Investments - Would you ever put your money where the risks are too high? Would you even dare invest in a sector that is plagued by fear and panic. With all the news about rampant accidents in Ghana , many investors would be hesitant to invest in the tourism industry because the tendency of getting more imports and revenue over this period is low. Even the risk takers will not invest as much as they would have loved to. Normally. Investors will build facilities and bring in technologies to make these tourists feel at home and have a good experience. However, if these same tourists are not coming in as much as they should because of these road accidents, then there will be no reason for them to invest. The industry needs the funding to succeed and without that, there is a high possibility that growth and development will be slow.
Competition - Name the top 5 most visited tourist destinations in Africa and unfortunately, you are likely not to find any from Ghana. Why should it be so when we boast of so many natural resources? Why are we not right up there when we pride ourselves in rich culture and heritage? Landscape, rivers, lakes, an ocean, monuments, gardens, caves, gold and many more are the things we are blessed with. Yet we seem to be out of competition. Mention countries like Kenya, South Africa, Egypt , Tanzania and more recently Rwanda and you are sure to get dozens of tourists who would love to visit there year after year. The rampant cases of road accidents may just be the icing on an already baked cake because it only takes us further from being in competition with the ‘’big tourism nations’’ in Africa. This is not to say that these countries don’t experience road accidents but when you are in a chase to beat them, then you don’t need such cases lurking around you. Many of these can be avoided and in our quest to become competitive, we need to find a long lasting solution to this problem.
Costs - One of the biggest challenges hampering our tourism industry is the lack of proper infrastructure and skilled human resource. Road accidents only heap more burden on the nations finances with so many costs of repair and cure of the damages. When accidents occur, lives are lost, roads and vehicles are damaged. It is costly to recover. Especially for tourist destinations close by who may have invested a lot in preparing for their expected tourists,this comes as a big blow and a costly burden. When accidents occur and tourists don’t come in, electricity, water, food, decoration, housekeeping, and many other preparations that may have been made go down the drain. In the end, we lose more than we gain and tourism takes a greater hit.
In an era where tourism remains one of our best avenues for growth and development as a country, more attention must be paid to the rampant road accidents that is killing our nation. Lives are lost, many scars that can never be erased, costs and a decrease in international arrivals hamper the growth of this industry. We must wake up and act fast before this cancer wipes us all out.