According to a Ghana Tourism Authority presentation on Ghana’s Tourism Potential presented by Architect Ekow Sampson, Acting Deputy CEO in charge of Operations at the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Tourism is a key economic driver in Ghana which generates foreign exchange earnings, creates jobs and wealth as well as stimulates other sectors of the economy.
The document further states that, tourism is currently the fourth largest source of foreign exchange earnings estimated at 2.2million dollars in 2015 with arrivals of 1.2million dollars. The sector contributes approximately 4.8% to the country’s GDP.
In 2015, the industry employed an estimated 393,000 people directly and indirectly within various sectors of the industry with its principal market generators as the USA, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Ghanaians in the diaspora as well as other African countries such as Nigeria, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and also South Africa.
Currently, Ghana makes close to 3.8 billion dollars with about a 7.94% contribution to the GDP of the country. Ghana’s tourism industry thrives on the back of five types of tourism products, which are; Ecotourism, Cultural tourism, historical tourism, pleasure tourism and conference/business tourism, with over 355,108 international tourists arriving in the country in 2020 (a pandemic year alone), it stands to reason that, tourism in the past, present and future is one of the major economic transformation drivers for the growth of the country.
In as much as the country has seen a number of successes from focusing on the tourism industry after the diversification of the Ghanaian economy in 1985 which shifted focus on over-reliance on traditional commodities such as gold, timber and cocoa. This policy directive was borne out of the unique and over abounding natural, cultural and historical resources which were identified then as competitive and sustainable, hence saw the setting up of the Ministry of Tourism in 1993 to champion the policy directive and has since then seen some significant growth. It however important that, immense and more diversified policy directives are solely attended to the sector as long as Ghana desires to grow on a tangent of production and localizing our economy.
A country currently with its economic recessions and the recent decision for an IMF bailout must resort to enhancing the resource allocations, policy decisions, and pragmatic legislative and executive decisions to make the tourism sector of the country the first contributor to the country’s GDP. It is important for Policymakers to give credence and place value on creating local or domestic opportunities for economic growth, and the enhancement of the tourism sector is one of the significant aspects of a domestic opportunity to warrant economic growth.
It is against this background that, Switch Up Ghana Limited makes a clarion call on all Ghanaians to wake up to the new experience in the tourism sector. Switch Up Ghana Limited as a tourism and hospitality hub is solely a firm believer in the potential of Ghana to strive in the international market.
The hub believes that with its new initiative of the Switch Up Experience website, it endeavors to bring tourism and hospitality to the doorstep of Ghanaians, tourists and the diasporic community. The website will have every bit of information a tourist in Ghana and outside Ghana desires prior to accessing any tourist attraction or any facility in the country.
Many policy makers and individuals have encouraged the influence of the private sector in the development of the country. In fact, from the adage, “The private sector is the engine of growth”, it is necessary that, Switch Up Ghana Limited be encouraged to continue its work as well as be promoted by Ghanaians.
Mr. Benjamin Oduro-Bosompem, the CEO of Switch Up Ghana Limited speaking in an exclusive interview indicates that the vision he had was to see Ghana being projected again as the beacon of hospitality and tourism.
He believes, Ghana needs to switch up to a new experience where tourism becomes the major contributor and revenue generation indication.
“I decided to pursue this vision because of the impact it would have on the country in terms of revenue generation, youth employment and restore hope to Ghanaians who’ve lost trust in the economy, Switch up believes in Ghana and so I do,” he added.
He continued, "If there should be anything that should be encouraged by all well-meaning Ghanaians, it should be this new experience hitting the tourism sector of the country through Switch Up Ghana Limited. It’s an opportunity to return every tourist who left Ghana due to COVID, but this time, in a grand-digitalised; stress-free manner to ensure that Ghana continues to be the beacon of hope and the destination to the continent of Africa. Arise, Ghana, let’s make this work. Together! We can!! Yes, We Can!!!"