The number of international tourists who visited Ghana last year was 497,129.
The figure represented a 16 per cent increase of the international tourist arrivals in the country in 2005, which was 428,533.
A statement issued by the Ghana Tourist Board said the highest growth rate of 25.6 per cent was recorded in May and the lowest was in June where it recorded 1.4 per cent.
“The trend indicated positive growth rates throughout the year with the exception of June,” it said.
In nominal terms, it said, the highest arrival figure of 56,007 was generated in August 2006, which coincided with the Emancipation Day celebrations, while the lowest figure of 32,220 was in June.
The statement said on the purpose of visit, 113,707 representing 26.5 per cent of the visitors came to Ghana to visit friends and relations, explaining that “this group is made up mainly of Ghanaians resident abroad”.
It said 92,840 representing 22.1 per cent of the visitor traffic came for business while 83,030 representing 19 per cent came for holidays.
It said 48,662 or 11 per cent of all visitors to Ghana in 2006 were on transit while conferences/meetings attracted 36,687 or 8.6 per cent.
“Those who came to study in our educational institutions were 28,707 with health tourism attracting a mere 4,308 or one per cent of the traffic,” it added.
On domestic tourism, the statement said 387,341 visitors criss-crossed Ghana to visit 30 selected tourist sites in 2006, and that “of this figure, 298,866 representing 77.1 per cent were resident in Ghana with 85,862 being non-residents, representing 22.2 of the total traffic”.
The statement said tourists spent 32 per cent of their monies on accommodation with 17 per cent going into entertainment and recreation.
It said food and beverage attracted 15 per cent of the tourist expenditure, 10 per cent on formal shopping at gift shops, supermarkets and nine per cent on informal shopping at Makola.
It said transportation and miscellaneous expenses took nine per cent each of tourists expenses.
The statement said as of December 31, 2006, Ghana could boast of 1,405 hotels, 19,967 hotel rooms and 28,006 beds representing an 18 per cent increase of the 2005 figures of 1,344 hotels, 18,632 rooms and 23,915 beds.