The Deputy Minister for Aviation, Mr. Kwabena Darko-Mensah, has urged players in the hospitality sector to take a closer look at their rates in order to drive domestic and in-bound tourism.
Speaking at the 7th Ghana Economic Forum’s (GEF) discussion on Tourism, Mr. Kwabena Darko-Mensah said that though Ghana is brimming with tourist attractions, we are losing our competitive streak by turning many tourists away with our high hotel rates.
“We have streamlined our charter to fit our needs and one key factor is our hospitality industry. If hoteliers are not willing to bring down their rates, we will not be able to participate fully in this charter and I believe that the Tourism Authority can talk to them to be able to bring down their rates so that more tourists can participate in this charter,” he said.
Mr. Darko-Mensah emphasised that for tourism to boom in various regions, the indigenes must make it a point to sell their culture in such a way that if one person visits that place, he/she can spread the word on what he experienced thereby encouraging others to visit.
“This year, I have taken a decision to invite people to come and train and dance the fancy dressing dance, so once they experience it, they will invite more people. I believe that if we are able to provide first-hand experience, many tourists will want to come to Ghana just to experience our culture,” he said.
Also speaking at the forum, Dean of the Department of Art at the University of Ghana, Professor Kodzo Gavua added that for Ghana to be competitive on the global market, it must invest in research that shapes our tourism landscape by identifying what experience a tourist expects to have once he or she visits a tourist site. He further explained that Ghana must be authentic in projecting itself on the global market.
“We have an industry which is anchored by many people who travel to various sites, thus we must be ourselves when selling to the global market. We have people who want to experience sites, however, we do not have trained professionals in heritage tourism, on who a tourist is, what a tourist expects to experience and how to interact with the tourist.
We should be mindful of isolation in this industry because the tourism industry thrives on transportation and access to transportation is something the Ghanaian tourism industry must invest in,” he said.
Professor Gavua urged the hospitality industry to take a closer look at meeting international standards in such a way that will sell Ghana, its heritage and culture.