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09.02.2005 Travel & Tourism

Target American, Asian markets to expand tourism - Adviser

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Accra, Feb. 9, GNA - For Ghana to attain the estimated one million tourists by 2007, there is the need to target more segments such as the African-American and the Asian markets, a senior official of the Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, said on Wednesday.

Mr Owusu Amoakohene, Research Adviser to the Ministry, explained that the need for "target marketing" was underscored by the fact that only eight per cent of tourists to Ghana were from America even though Ghana had the required tourism products that would appeal to the market.

Mr Amoakohene told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that literature on travel patterns of African-Americans showed that cultural and historical events ranked very high among activities that appealed to them. He said licensing of charter flights would help reduce cost and subsequently increase the destination affordability, which would increase tourist arrivals.

"At the current numbers tourist arrivals have to increase by 20 per cent per annum to achieve the objective of one million tourist arrivals by 2007."

He urged the Ministry to continue adopting a market penetration strategy, saying Ghana should adopt a two-tier approach to marketing aggressively by entering new markets and expanding traditional ones. Statistics from the Ghana Tourist Board and Ghana Immigration Service for 2003 indicated that 38 per cent of tourists visited Ghana for business purposes.

A document, "Tourism Data Series Issue II" made available to the Ghana News Agency shows that Ghanaians residing abroad accounted for 27 per cent of arrivals (144,492) of all tourists in that year.

Mr Amoakohene said 36 per cent of tourists visited the country for holiday while 20 per cent visited families and friends.

He said the private sector must recognize the needs of the business segment of the market and provide services and facilities, which would keep the tourist coming.

"It is evident that the business traveller is an important component of tourist traffic," Mr Amoakohene said. He said with 36 per cent of tourists coming on holidays, the private sector could develop packages that appealed to that group.

"This group is the most beneficial in terms of their economic contributions, yet they are the most difficult to attract." Mr Amoakohene said there was also the need to provide exquisite services and amenities to meet their taste seriousness.

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