Promoting tourism: the role of gov’t and citizens


Tourism as a high economic driver is the movement of people from one location or country to another for the purposes of sight-seeing or a particular facet of tourism.

Ghana, with its rich history, culture and tourist sites, undeniably has the potential to become the number-one tourist hub in the sub-region. However, this vision cannot be achieved without the collective effort of citizenry. It therefore remains incumbent on every inhabitant of the country to, in one way or another, promote and represent the country to the outside world as a means of attracting and generating traffic into the country.

In 2018, 1.13 million visitors thronged the shores of Ghana to celebrate the ‘Year of Return’, which saw an 18 percent growth over the previous year that went above the global average of 5 percent. With this serving as a pilot year for promoting Ghana, it would not be wrong to conclude that the agenda for transforming the country into a modern-day tourist destination heavily depends on us as Ghanaians.

From the Jamestown Lighthouse Tower through the Nkyinkyim Museum in Ada Foah, up North to the Larabanga Mosque, the country boasts over a hundred tourist sites and resorts, which with minimal input could transform the country’s status from a developing to a developed nation with revenues generated from tourism.

A cue ought to be taken from sister-African countries – such as Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco among others – on how they have been able to successfully attract global recognition in the tourism industry.

Tanzania as a case study

Using Tanzania – a colleague sister-state – as a classic case study, it is apparent that this country after identifying what they had and the uniqueness of it, capitalised and fine-tuned same in making their tourism sector more attractive.

Tanzania’s clean blue oceans, rich biodiversity, wildlife attractions and cultural resources represent an absolutely unique tourist destination with thousands trooping in yearly.

In 2019, the sector created 1,550,100 jobs for the people of Tanzania. Furthermore, as a means of fighting abject poverty, the country also created and developed markets for its traditional products. This also stimulated development of transport and the hospitality industries.

Over a period of nine years, the average international tourism receipt for Tanzania was 23.95 percent of GDP as compared to a 5.85 percent total in Ghana. This suggests that they have a competitive advantage of building their economy by investing in tourism.

It is therefore not surprising that the World Travel and Tour Council (WTTC) 2020 report attested to the fact that tourism will significantly drive the global economic recovery post COVID-19, which will invariably be an avenue for job creation.

With conversations on tourism taking root in other economies, Ghana has an obligation to make a conscious effort at investing heavily in this area. Just as Tanzania can boast of their prominent historical and artistic stone town, the unique rock restaurant and other activities such as swimming with the turtles and dolphins, Ghana should be able to boast a greater variety of highly-thriving tourist attractions than it currently has.

Juxtaposing Ghana’s capabilities with countries like Tanzania is not so farfetched, and with the collective effort of government and citizens, tourism could be the country’s next best-seller. The essence of moving this from a vision to goals, into actualisation is mainly centred around having a concerted effort and focusing on executing a few outlined areas of opportunity, operationalisation of the low-hanging fruit, and continuous assessments for maintenance, improvements and monitoring of efficiencies, while ramping up advertising and marketing to support the efforts being implemented.

About the author

Samira is a dual qualified lawyer by profession, and focuses her practice in the areas of corporate, commercial transactions and intellectual property (specifically trademarks). She is also a candidate of the Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) programme at GIMPA. In addition to law, her interests span from tourism to business. She can be reached via [email protected]

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