An ambitious tourism marketing strategy aimed at making Ghana the most preferred tourism destination in West Africa has been launched in Accra.
The three-year marketing strategy, spanning 2009-2012, is anchored on the campaign theme, “Ghana - Culture, warmth and much more”, whose trumpeting through the media and printing on clothes, T-shirts and other paraphernalia, is expected to lure international and local tourists to savour the rich Ghanaian culture, proverbial warm hospitality and a repertoire of its splendid tourism endowment.
The ambition is to increase tourism arrivals in the country from the current 600,000 to at least one million by 2012, a target whose achievement is likely to propel Ghana up the tourism ladder in West Africa ahead of Senegal, which at the moment is considered to be the most preferred tourism destination in the sub-region.
With an initial budget of GH¢15 million, the strategy involves the development and aggressive projection of Ghana’s tourism potentials to the world, targeting tourists in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Nigeria and Ghanaians living at home and abroad.
Acknowledging the huge financial commitment needed to pull through that ambitious enterprise, officials of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) intend to explore every avenue to raise funds, including making appeals and going cup-in-hand to corporate Ghana, the donor community and other partners, for its successful execution.
The idea of developing a national tourism marketing strategy was by courtesy of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), which, in 2006, initiated a public-private partnership to review past strategy and adopt new trends in the industry.
It was also based on the recognition that tourism is the fastest-growing industry in the world and the possibility of making it become the leading sector of Ghana’s economy.
Currently, the tourism sector is the fourth-highest foreign exchange earner for Ghana and makes huge contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and job creation.
Launching the tourism blueprint, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma South, Mr Fritz Baffour, said Ghana had one of the best tourism endowments in the world, adding that the country had the potential to become the most preferred tourism destination in Africa.
The Minister of Tourism, Madam Juliana Azumah-Mensah, suggested the adoption of a national marketing approach by branding Ghana and selling it to the world.
She identified quality service delivery as a critical factor to survive the keen competition in the world tourism sector. Ghana must, therefore, position itself well in order to survive the competition.
“No tourism marketing strategy will yield positive results if tourism sites remain un-developed,” the minister pointed out.
The Executive Director of GTB, Mr Martin Mireku, described the strategy as very positive, adding that if it was implemented to the letter, it would be successful.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Gideon Quarcoo, who chaired the function, lauded the initiative, saying it underscored the point that any good thing that started under one government should not be abandoned by its successor.