The Gold Coast! Africa’s black star and pacesetter. A country rich in culture, heritage and tradition. Groomed in all modesty, peace and love. They call it Ghana , we call it home. A country that opens it’s doors to the outside world for business and tourism. A great place to come on a vacation. Very importantly the industry that drives this great country to such heights is tourism. It only comes 4th after the major GDP contributors like gold, cocoa, and oil.
However, this industry with all the enormity in potential has often been stalled by a few challenges and lack of action. A lot is being done already but here are some basic steps to drive the industry forward. Jumia Travel , a major stakeholder in this booming industry identifies these steps as the keys for the much desired progress.
When people think about travelling , the first point of call is usually, accommodation. Amazingly, ‘’where will I stay?’’ comes before ‘’how will I get there?’’. The quality of accommodation and how close it is to various points of interest is also very much considered when deciding on a destination country for a vacation. In Ghana, there are numerous historic and beautiful tourist attractions to visit. Great stories, myths, and many eye catching scenes to behold. Many people want to visit them yet they are often pegged back by how far these tourist destinations are and how bad some of the connecting roads are. To solve this long lasting problem, it is expedient to build ultra modern hotels, motels, and guesthouses on site at certain key tourist sites. This makes it very easy for tourists to fully enjoy the sites, not be in a hurry to leave because their bed is a few steps away. They may even spend more money on site when they stay there because they have to buy food, airtime and other things they may need. This generates extra revenue for the country. The accommodation, if present on site, also makes the sites attractive to group visits from foreign and local institutions. Arguably, getting a lot of people at once to book accommodation, buy food and shop on site is more beneficial that getting occasional one time visits because tourists have to travel long distances to go see a much advertised monument or site .
Alternatively, these accommodation facilities can also be built very close to these destinations or even at a central point that can serve 3 to 4 tourist sites. Since transportation and accommodation walk hand-in-hand, it is also highly imperative that good roads are constructed to give easy access to these sites. Travel to these tourist destinations should be as smooth and comfortable as possible. The facilities that are already existent should also be refurbished and improved. What about feeding? What does a tourist eat when he/she decides to spend all day on a tourist site? The provision of good quality, wholesome food on site also makes these tourist sites very attractive to tourists. A good restaurant that serves both continental and local dishes is just the best option. Those who are not too comfortable and adventurous can just go with the usual continental dishes while the much braver adventurists can try some local fufu, banku or waakye. It helps create a better on-site experience and makes them stay longer there thus spending more and increasing revenue.
Picture : The Village on Stilts, Nzulenzu
Taking a close look at the fares charged at various tourist destinations makes one wonder whether it is an invitation for foreigners to come and experience the greatness of Ghana or a strategy to prevent them from coming. Many tourist sites charge very high fares at the gates and often fares are doubled or tripled at the mere sight of a foreigner or a group of foreign tourists. Won’t it be better to create a platform where we charge a small fee at the gate to attract them and then have other services on site that will compel them to spend even more? Think about a cultural dance troupe drumming and dancing, a kente weaver teaching tourists how to make kente, some locals teaching them how to make beads and a compiled movie about Ghana and it’s history. Confidently, one can say that many tourists will be interested in paying for such services in addition to accommodation, food and other things if they are available.
In the end, it’s the basics that get us where we want to go. Let’s work on putting the fundamentals in place and work even harder on having a strong maintenance culture. The only way for this industry is up! Tourism is ripe and a big industry with so much potential. Let’s develop it and impact Ghana’s economy massively.
Credit : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel