Today, “September 27” marks the celebration of Tourism all over the world. And as part of the routines and distribution of instructive information about Tourism, Travel and Hospitality, leading radio maestro Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey Santana, who doubles up as Ghana’s tourism diplomat and CEO of Ghana’s premium Kaya Tours Group has duly penned down an adequate piece, revealing challenges, lack of professionalism, inadequate investment and economic sustainability among other critical factors of Tourism as a trade at large in this continent of Africa in particular and it reads as written and unedited below.
Abeiku Santana Writes:
Tourism wields tremendous economic and positive outcomes and one of the world’s most significant sources of employment, depending on how its activities are managed, marketed and promoted.
The World’s Tourism has played a constructive role in the socio-cultural, economic, environmental and political development of the destinations within countries.
According to the recent hospitality report for Ghana, Tourism contributed 7.8% of the country’s GDP in 2016. Tourism also ranked 4th on the foreign exchange earner after Gold, Cocoa and Oil. The forecast shows that the sector can only grow bigger and bigger as it holds great potential.
Tourism has to be sustainable environmentally, economically and socio culturally. The theme for the 2017 World Tourism Day which comes off every year on the 27th September is “SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: A TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT”.
It is important to note that sustainable tourism spearheads growth but also improves the quality of people’s lives. In this spirit, World Tourism Day presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to develop public and private sector decision makers and the international community.
Ghana’s Tourism sector has received some facelift which has resulted in the improvement in the sectors development indicators, especially in the recent times. This has increased the sectors contribution to the economy.
Tourist’s arrival to Ghana has increased from 172,000 in 1991 to 1,093,000 in 2014; it has also contributed an average of 8% to GDP in the past 10 years.
Statistics from the World Travel &Tourism council (WTTC) shows that an average of US$342 million has been invested yearly in the sector over the same period whilst generating an average of US$ 2.2 billion in total receipt.
It is estimated that about 1.2 million arrived in Ghana in 2016 and projected to reach 1.4 million and 4.3million in 2017 and 2027 respectively according to the National Tourism Deployment Plan (NTDP), (2013 to 2027) tourism receipts are also projected to reach US$ 4.7 billion and US$ 8.4 billion in 2022 and 2027 with its direct contribution to GDP at 5.2% and 5.7% respectively.
As part of the objectives to develop domestic tourism through Ghanaian culture and creative arts, the Ghana Tourism Authority under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture has outdoor the “see Ghana, wear Ghana, eat Ghana and feel Ghana” campaign. This campaign seeks to instill the “I am a Ghanaian spirit” which is believed to drive domestic tourism.
Ghana has been elected to the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) executive council due to its recognition as a peaceful International Tourism body. The executive council is the highest decision making body responsible for the organization mandates.
CHALLENGES OF DOMESTIC TOURISM IN GHANA
Limited understanding is the first challenge in solving any problem. The main hindrance to this fact is that a lot of people think tourism is entertainment
LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM
We are in the world where professionalism has become a benchmark for many successful businesses. A high sense of professionalism and great customer service must be Ghana’s strong competitive advantage. In Ghana, professionalism is either with the bigger brands or completely absent.
Employers must select well equipped, knowledgeable people to solve the institutional challenges. The media also has a major role to play in educating the general public about the various components and stakeholders in the tourism sector. There must be a conscious sensitization about the society’s culture, history, tradition and great heritage sites. This will go a long way to make people understand and appreciate what we have as a country.
There’s absolutely no investor who will invest in an industry that has no track record of success.
Every investor pushes money into a sector that has opportunities for growth and development. To solve this problem we must make sure our tourism sector is attractive through Promotion, Marketing and Advertising on International media.
In tourism, like most other services, consumption is complicated by many factors, chief amongst them being intangibility, dynamism and subjectivism. (Botterill and Crompton.1996)
The current consumer climate and the increasing number of competitive alternate destinations require Ghana to position itself and attend to customer retention.
This is perhaps the most important aspect of sustainable tourism to both investors, its workers, trade partners and even government.
Many people do not take into account the sustainability venture of tourism. A hotel or a company owned by a foreigner is not likely to contribute much to the local economy, the money will likely leak overseas. Economic sustainability however means building linkages and reducing leakages.
When an area starts been visited by tourist there are bound to be some social and cultural impacts of those tourists to the host communities. The introduction of new languages, slangs and influx of foreigners leading to congestion will affect communities if not properly managed.
So on the theme “SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, A TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT”, the Ministry of Tourism and its implementing bodies must ensure that negative impacts are minimized and focus more on positive ones such as preserving cultural exchange.
A review on trip advisor by Ghanaian visitors exposes the presence of filth in most areas of our country. Pollution at our beaches, open and smelling sewage are seen even in our capital cities.
There must be a sustainable environmental program that will position Ghana as one of the most competitive destinations in Africa.
Happy World Tourism Day!!!
Sustainable Tourism is a tool for economic development.
Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey Santana
CEO of Kaya Tours Company Limited