Tourism Potential-Mix Outlook
Ghana has and boasts of a collection of remarkable man-made, natural, cultural and heritage resources, together with some historic natural landmarks, including the exact centre of our country and its associated natural landmarks at Kintampo in the Kintampo North Municipality at Kintampo in the Bono East Region, as well as the Equator and the Greenwich Meridian and their imposing associated natural landmarks. Both natural landmarks are located in the Tema Metropolis in the Greater Accra Region as its outstanding national tourism treasures.
National political stability, safety and security, warm national hospitality traits are intangible additional national tourism competitive resources which enhance Ghana’s tourism standing, stature and outlook.
The country additionally has and boasts of a collection of outstanding man-made tourism resources, notable among these resources are: the Adomi Suspended Bridge, the Volta Dam and the Hydro-Electrical Head-works at Akosombo, and the Volta Hotel in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region. Others include the Tema Township and Harbour and Takoradi harbours, the Osagyefuo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park, in Tema, Takoradi and Accra, respectively.
Other remarkable and prominent man-made national tourism resources are the Independence and the Black Star Square; the Kotoka International Airport; Accra, Ho, Kumasi and Tamale Airports. Others are Best Western Plus Hotel – Takoradi, Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel – Accra, the Royal Senchi Resort – Senchi; La Palm Golden Beach Hotel, Golden Tulip Hotel, Elmina Beach, Holiday Inn, Marriot International , Alisa Hotels, Mahaa Beach Resort, Sogakope Beach Resort,Peduase Valley Resorts, Bojo Beach Resort. Also included are Jofel Catering, Papaye, Tang Palace, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Movempick Ambassador, Accra City Hotel. There are also the Accra Sports Stadium, Alhaji Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium – Tamale. The Abetifi Ramseur Site – Abetifi, the Evangelical Presbyterian College of Education – Amedzofe, Ho West District; Saint Francis College of Education and Saint Theresa College of Education – both in Hohoe Municipality, and Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Cocoa Farms and Museum – Mampong-Akuapim, Akuapim South Municipal are other unique man-made national tourism facilities in the country which add colour, glamour and glitz to the country’s evergreen infant tourism industry.
Pan-African Theatre and Arts Festival (PANAFEST), Aboakyer,Agbamevorzaa, Agbelizaa, Asafotufiam, Akwasidae, Bugum, Emancipation, Fetu Afahye, Hogbetsotozaa, Homowo, Teezaa, Kundum, Kplejoo, Odwira Cultural Festival are other prominent national cultural tourism unique selling points, (USPs).
Notable among other national tourism heritage resources include several historic slave trade, slavery and colonial forts and castles and other related landmarks including slave markets, rivers and wells in Anloga, Assin Fosu, Salaga , Gwollu Slave Defense Walls, Assin Fosu Slave River, Memorial Gardens and Research Centres, among others.
Among national natural tourism resources are a number of attractive eco-tourism sites around the countryside, including the towering mountain Afaja (Afadjato) at Amedzofe and the Amedzofe settlement, which is on record as the highest human habitation point in Ghana and others.
Thousands of acres of clean coconut plantation-decorated and beautiful Beachfronts across the country, from the east from Aflao through Anloga, Ada, Accra, Cape Coast to Axim, in the West; Kakum Forest Reserve and its Canopy Walkway at the Kakum National Park at Kakum, in the Central Region are other outstanding and popular national natural tourism attractions of the Motherland.
- Africa’s Biggest Tree
There is the Baku Tree in the Espan Forest Reserves, at Espan near Oda in the Assin Manso-Akroso District (AM-ADA) in the Eastern Region; Baku is on record as West Africa’s Biggest Tree in history, and is an attraction that is very popular for many environmentalists, plant medicine researchers, conservationists and others.
Tourism Development Overview
The country in the 90s identified and designated tourism as a front burner national socio-economic diversification, expansion, reconstruction, modernisation and transformation catalyst; and accordingly pursued its development with a number of national potential harnessing policy initiatives and projects.
National Tourism Legal Regime
Legislation and legal regimes (L&LRs) are very crucial and important to the health and sustenance of vocations and professions around the world.
Tourism Sector Laws
Ghana has a number of pieces of a number of legislations (Ls) on its statues which are suitable and applicable as far as the conduct and operation of tourism business in the Ghanaian jurisdiction is concerned. Notable among applicable tourism industry laws in the Ghanaian space include the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board Act 1969, NLCD Act 387, the National Commission on Culture Law 1990, PNDCL 238 and the National Cultural and the Culture Trust Fund Policy 2004.
The rest are the Tourism, Ghana Tourism Authority and the Tourism Development Levy/ Fund Act 2011, Act 817, the Film Classification, Development, Film Development Fund and the National Film Authority Act 2016, Act 935 as well as the Creative Arts Agency and the Creative Arts Industry Development Fund Act 2020, Act 1048 as applicable tourism industry laws on Ghana’s statues currently.
MOT-MOTAC & National Tourism Development Narrative
The Fourth Republican dispensation stands out as the best era so far, especially with the creation of the erstwhile Ministry of Tourism (MOT) in 1993. It was an indelible landmark, visionary and commendable legacy that opened the floodgates and ushered the strategic and emerging tourism industry, and encouraged the evolution narrative in both tangible and intangible, pull and push, enabling eco-systems, especially Ghana’s infant and burgeoning industry, into an improved era on our national tourism development narrative, which was hitherto neglected and confined as footnote to other demanding and strategic sectors including information, education, sports, among others.
MOT realignment & rebranding
MOT underwent realignment, rebranding and re-designation asit was previously known as the Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City (MOT&MCC), Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations (MOTDR), Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts (MOTCCA); but it is presently branded as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC).
The erstwhile MOT and its succeeding ministries including the current Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, have championed and pursued commendable sustainable national tourism potential, harnessing development strategy and development policy regime, with dual objective of mainstreaming tourism and its related sub-sectors as key and imposing part of the overall national socio-economic outlook; and also reposition Ghana as an attractive and competitive tourism destination, strategic global tourism industry players and influencer of stature, especially in Cultural, Food and Heritage Tourism sectors.
1996-2010, 15-Year Long-term National Tourism Development Roadmap
We have, from 1993 to date, pursued sustained commendable National Tourism Development Strategy (NTDS) and tourism development initiatives (TDIs), including the 1996-2010, 15-Year Long-term National Tourism Development Roadmap that was better reinforced by soft pull and push factors including political stability, national safety and security, underlining ecosystems. However, deliverables from these outstanding initiatives leave much to be desired. The not-too-impressive tourism development deliverables could be attributed to the narrow nature of our tourism development strategy – the major cause of unimpressive tourism development and growth over the years.
Tourism was the biggest, fastest and largest growing industry around the world, since the turn of the millennium and has become an indispensable part of the global socio-economic order, serving an interface that has rescued, strengthened and repositioned many modern economies around the world. The fledging evergreen tourism industry, however, was one of the worst affected industries from the debilitating and devastating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic around the world.
The unassuming industry is a very outstanding, remarkable, resilient and dynamic industry that rebounds stronger, better and bigger from natural and man-made disasters and disruptions, the above characteristic traits give assurance that the struggling industry would recover bigger and better soonest.
The COVID-19 disruption coincided with Ghana’s assessment of the industry. The country has an outstanding national tourism potential and resources in all man-made, natural, cultural and heritage broader tourism resource classifications, of which few are listed above – envied by other competitor -destinations. The national tourism potential is given further shoot in the arm by other soft and intangible push and pull factors including political stability, respectable national safety and security stature. While tourism’s contributions to socio-economic transformation and development is very much relevant and suitable to our overall national socio-economic development, now more than ever, there is need of expansion and modernisation.
Above all the country has pursued sustained national tourism development policy from 1993 to date which produced and lots of data and statistics that can shape and guide national tourism development reforms.
National Tourism Development Reforms & Resolution
Tourism is very much relevant and must reposition as a strategic front burner in our national socio-economic diversification, expansion, modernisation and transformation agendum. Furthermore, as the tourism industry recovers from the COVID-19 disruptions, and also on the cusp of the 30th Anniversary of sustained National Tourism Development Policy 1993 to 2023, a popular adage admonishes that “society is not static but dynamic”. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture must therefore devote a fraction of the World Bank/IDA National Tourism Grant to initiate and pursue very comprehensive, proactive and pragmatic two-pronged national tourism development sector reforms which must address challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic posed; and also address noted defects, errors and omissions on the current national tourism development strategy.
New Tourism Legislation & Legal Regime
Part of the new tourism sector reforms review and harmonise all tourism sector laws including the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board Act 1969, NLDC 387, the National Commission on Culture Law 1990, PNDCL 238, the 2004 National Cultural and the Culture Trust Fund Policy, the Tourism, Tourism Development Levy /Fund and the Ghana Tourism Authority Act 2011, the Film Classification and Development and the National Film Authority Act 2016, Act 935 and the Creative Arts Agency and the Creative Arts Industry Development Fund Act 2020, Act 1048 as one simplified, inclusive and holistic National Tourism Development Law that creates and makes adequate provision for man-made, natural, cultural and heritage broader tourism sub-sectors as well as their related sub-sectors such as textiles, fashion and clothing, make-up, creative arts, arts and artefacts, food and beverages, news and social media, publishing , ceramics, visual arts, performing and screen arts, among others, which support and promote holistic national tourism potential development.
Defects & Errors on Act 817, 2011
The need for a new national tourism legislation and legal regime must draw lessons and address defects, errors and omissions on the current Tourism Act 2011, Act 817; and stand out as an outstanding and proactive holistic national tourism legislation and legal regime (NTL&LR).
Traditional Authorities & MMDAs as Tourism Custodians, Regions & Incentives
The new NTL& LR must promote decentralised national tourism development strategy and therefore designate and reposition Traditional Authorities and Leaders (TAL) and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country as strategic tourism custodians and strategic industry players and indispensable stakeholders.
The Legislation must also create and promote well-defined national tourism regions, districts, circuits, enclaves and zones with incentives, tax holidays, rebates, among other incentives to consciously promote fair and balance national tourism development across the country.
Hospitality Legislation & Development Blueprint
The hospitality sub-sector is the foremost and lead growth sector in Ghana’s current tourism industry growth-mix but ranked as one of the most expensive destinations around the world, where accommodation expenses and expenditure consume a big chunk of visitors’ budgets and expenses; and strangely, the country currently has no national hospitality legislation (NHL), legal regime and hospitality development blueprint (LR&HDB). There is also the lack of conscious national blueprint effort to leverage on tourism and hospitality industries as pro-women industries as strategic catalyst to promote the women factor, women empowerment and gender parity. The culture factor is the foremost tourism unique selling point (T-USP).
The National Commission Culture Law 1990, PNDCL 238 and the Cultural and the Culture Trust Fund Policy 2004 have outlived their usefulness and need urgent amendment. The transport factor, the sanitation, the traditional authorities, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs’) factors, among others, have missing links, and therefore need reevaluation, overhauling and reengineering to reposition the evergreen tourism industry for double-digit, rapid and accelerated growth, and also reposition tourism as frontline strategic player in an all-new diversified, decentralised, improved and expanded national competitive economic frontier.
Need to realign & rebrand MOTAC
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), is the current statutory national technical ministry under the Office of the Civil Service (OCS), which has mandate for, champions and pursues national tourism potential development policies and initiatives which seek to mainstream tourism and its related sub-sectors as an integral part and parcel of the overall national socio-economic outlook as well as transform and reposition the country as an attractive and competitive tourism destination.
A cursory analysis of the country’s tourism register reveals that there are some rare and unique national tourism resources located and found in the rural areas; but they are inaccessible and undocumented, which justifies the need to realign and rebrand the current Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) into an improved, expanded and well-financed and resourced new Ministry of Tourism and Rural Development (MOTOURD), as new and statutory national technical ministry that has mandate for, champions and pursues holistic and inclusive national tourism potential harnessing strategy, which uses tourism to bridge the development gap between the urban and the rural areas, and effortlessly promote a balance and equal national development and socio-economic transformation.
Eco-tourism as Solution to Threats from Climate Change
Climate change and threats from climate change are real. Eco-tourism, better known as conservation tourism, is one national tourism towering strength which has not been explored and harnessed over the years, the new Ministry of Tourism and Rural Development must prioritise and promote eco-tourism development across, as a national stop-gap to combat, solve and minimise threats from climate change.
Another justifiable reason for the need to realign the current MOTAC ministry is the importance, instrumental and strategic role of community involvement, particularly attraction and facility host communities in tourism development as well as the importance of clean environment and importance of conservation of historical, cultural and natural heritage to tourism development and evolution.
The above-mentioned innovation and creative factor in man-made tourism resources is very strategic, essential and critical to evolve and create attractive and prominent traffic destinations and hubs.
Hospitality Industry – Neglected & Unsung Tourism Cash-Cow
THE HOSPITALITY sector and industry is an essential, crucial and strategic tourism sub-sector which covers food, beverages and entertainment industries, and has a huge impact on destination’s health and progress.
The industry is the second most tourism’s unique selling point (T-USP), behind culture in the tourism product-mix.
The Ghanaian Hospitality industry is the key and major pathfinder that has contributed immensely in diverse ways to shape and put Ghana on the tourism map as an infant fledging competitive destination.
Ghana’s hospitality industry is the outstanding lead sector as the largest growth area that has seen sustained and improved growth in both quality and quantity in facility and bed supply year-on-year, to shape and impact positively to the country’s fledging infant tourism industry over the years.
Certified Data and Statistics on the state of Ghana’s hospitality industry and outlook made available to the Business and Financial Times tourism desk from the Standards and Quality Assurance (S&QA) Directorate of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) Head office, Accra, revealed that as at the last quarter of 2021, there are 4,076 duly certified, licensed and accredited hospitality accommodation, catering and entertainment facilities of various classes, grades and standards located in the 16 regions across the country on the country’s hospitality register, with 5-Star as the foremost grading in the accommodation sub-sector, grade 3-Grade is the topmost for the food and beverage facilities operating at various locations across the country.
Players & Newsmakers
Notable among hospitality facilities in the Ghanaian tourism industry included Best Western Plus Hotel – Takoradi, Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel – Accra, Royal Senchi Resort – Senchi, La Palm Golden Beach Hotel, Golden Tulip Hotel, Elmina Beach, Holiday Inn, Marriot International, Alisa Hotels, Mahaa Beach Resort, Sogakope Beach Resort, Peduase Valley Resorts, Bojo Beach Resort, Papaye, Tang Palace, Movempick Ambassador, Accra City Hotels, among others.
The rest are Trafix Restaurant & Catering Service, Jofel Catering Services Limited, Ambar Restaurant, Catering Services & Agro-Processing Ltd., Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Pizza hut and others.
Azmera, Akuapim Grill Restaurant, Barcelos Restaurant, Basilissa Restaurant, Daisu Restaurant, Captain Hooks, Food Inn, Frankies Restaurant, Marwako Fast Food, Melcom Coffee, Le Magellan, Imperial Perking Chinese, Dynasty Chinese, Honey Suckle, Jokers, Mckeown, Linda Dor, the Stage Restaurant, Hut d’Eric Restaurant, Asanka Locals and the Buka Restaurants are prominent and giant food, beverages and hospitality industry players which contribute in diverse ways to make Ghana’s fledging tourism industry very competitive.
Against the encouraging hospitality industry growth results and output above, regarding revenue contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), foreign exchange, job opportunities and frontline role as the largest contributor and growth enabler in the country’s current tourism-mix, the tourism industry as a whole, currently ranks as the 4th largest contributor to GDP. Ghana remained one of the most expensive destinations around the world, especially in the area of accommodation rates and charges, which does not augur well for the country’s fledging tourism industry.
Ghana’s discouraging standing as an expensive destination is a direct fallout from the absence of comprehensive national Hospitality Legislation and Legal Regime (NHL&LR) as well as a corresponding National Hospitality Development Blueprint (NHDB) – two key omissions and defects on the National Tourism Development Strategy (NTDS) which obstruct and frustrate national tourism development aspirations and strategy.
It is very incumbent on the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and its frontline implementing agencies to promptly intervene with pragmatic steps and actions to develop a very comprehensive national hospitality legislation, legal regime and hospitality development blueprint as part and parcel of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic era tourism sector reconstruction and development reforms, to reposition the infant and fledging tourism industry for double-digit rapid and accelerated growth.
The Writer is a Tourism, Brands & Branding, Communication & Marketing Consultant, Practitioner, Analyst, Advocate & Activist