Be A Guru In Domestic Tourism
The tourism sector is what we call the rough diamond of Ghana. As said by Alba Kunadu Sunmprim,” Ghana is a huge grindstone, and depending on what you are made of, can grind you down or polish you up.”
So, the bigger question is, what are we made up of in the tourism industry? For years the tourism industry has been highly patronized by foreigners and due to this pandemic, there has been a big blow on the industry-leading to a major loss in revenue.
But one question that keeps lingering on my mind is, where are the Gurus of the land? Where are the people to polish up the tourism industry? Must we lose a lot of revenue because foreigners are not coming in?
It’s time to take domestic tourism on a different level, it’s time to make more profit from the industry domestically. It’s time to sell what we have to ourselves and enjoy what we have as well as polish up what we have.
The country’s dazzling and breathtaking tourist attractions, hospitable people, and delicious food add to the sublimity of the industry which is fast becoming one of the foremost backbones and capstone of the economy.
Comparatively, statistics indicate that international tourist arrivals increased from 956, 375 in 2018 to 1,130, 307 in 2019, and with domestic tourism, arrivals increased from 635,194 in 2018 to 669,311 in 2019.
This indicates that irrespective of the increase in domestic tourism from 2018 to 2019, international tourism surpasses domestic tourism. These are equal indications that citizens can help to put domestic tourism in Ghana on a much higher pedestal
KWAME NKRUMAH MAUSOLEUM
The need to cushion up domestic tourism emanate from the fact that evidence exists all over the world, and particularly in some African Countries, the industry is overflowing with the prospect of transforming livelihoods through employment and wealth creation.
There are strong indications that the potential tourism flourish in transforming economies and empowering livelihoods is maximized through vibrant domestic tourism.
Comparatively, Ghana can do more and achieve more if we take the tourism industry seriously by first promoting domestic tourism.
It is pivotal to note that, domestic tourism as a tool can eliminate poverty, generate employment and upgrade infrastructure in the economy.
In a quest to promote domestic tourism, various campaigns have been outlined by the Ghana Tourism Authority under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. These include See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana, Ghana Guru, Stay Home Know Ghana, Travel See Snap and Win, just to mention a few.
In view of that, the Ghana Tourism Authority appointed thirty Ghanaian celebrities as Tourism Ambassadors under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to spearhead the “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana” campaign. The campaign concept draws on re-orienting Ghanaians on a new sense of national pride in its heritage, culture, and way of life. Notable among these ambassadors are Supt. Kofi Sarpong, D-Black, Nana Ampadu, Okyeame Kwame, Fancy Gadam, Agya Koo, Lucky Mensah, Reggy and Bole, Van Vicker, Sena Degadu, and others.
The Ambassadors, cut across different creative arts sectors including musicians, actors, radio presenters, disc jockeys, and bloggers, to promote tourism domestically and internationally.
The need to be Gurus of our land, can’t be dependent on only the citizens. As such, the Ghana Tourism Authority has reiterated its commitment to boosting local tourism in the Country.
Moreover, according to the Ag. Corporate Affairs Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Jones Nelson, in an interview granted to Citi Business News, his “outfit is confident that when more attention is given to domestic tourism stakeholders in the industry will stand a better chance of thriving.
The kind of situation we find ourselves in indicates that we need to intensify our domestic tourism to get the yield because the times are rough. If you travel to Asia, for instance, Japan and China, you will realize that domestic tourism is the backbone of their tourism. It fetches them a lot of money.
They don’t think about international tourism, they rather focus on domestic tourism. So, we are trying to intensify efforts, and we are also saying that we have to go virtual in addition, so we can boost domestic tourism.”
On the other hand, the President of Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah – Nyamekye believes that the government has a major role to play in boosting local tourism in order to sustain their businesses.
Did you know that patronizing Ghana’s cocoa products contribute to promoting domestic tourism? The light in this is that it introduces Ghanaians to numerous business opportunities to boost the industry and attract investors into the Country.
According to Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer of GTA in an interview granted during a presentation of cocoa products and PPEs to the Ghana Medical Association as part of the National Chocolate Week Celebrations ‘there is the need to have a mind shift starting from the hospitality industry.
Serving cocoa or chocolate products; and as consumption goes on and improves, demand increases as well, investors would find the need to invest in the processing of cocoa.’
However, it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that, for investors to move into the industry it's highly dependent on how we patronize the industry and become Gurus of the industry.
It’s time to discover Ghana with a different lens in this period of COVID-19, as a result, one need not travel now to know about or discover Ghana, to boost domestic tourism.
In view of that, the Ghana Tourism Authority’s initiative called “Stay Home Know Ghana”. A campaign was introduced to promote domestic tourism amidst the spread of COVID-19. The campaign is programmed with exciting outlines such as Online Contests.
This involves a Pictionary Contest where Participants identify images of attractions, Ghanaian symbols (Adinkra), and artifacts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Games will be run on the GTA social media pages (@VisitGhanaNow and @GhanaTourismAuthority.
Participants with the most correct answers will win a cash prize of 100gh and 2nd and 3rd will win Airtime. Not only but also, another outline for this campaign is Know & Eat Ghana Contest, where participants will share four images of different Ghanaian dishes they have tasted.
The picture with the most comments or Likes & RTs will win cash prizes or airtime. Also, with the Stay Home, Wear Ghana Contest: Participants would show a ‘before and after’ picture of themselves in any normal clothing and switch up to their traditional Ghanaian clothing.
This will showcase the different types of clothes from our various ethnic groups and their way of dressing. Participants are to talk about or promote their clothing on their status. Participants with the most views, likes, and retweets will win cloth pieces from GTP and also cash prizes.
Some notable influencers will be leading this campaign. Furthermore, another outline for the campaign is a Radio Contest. Partner radio stations will hold radio contests and award prizes to winners weekly. Partner radio stations include HAPPY FM, YFM KUMASI, CITI FM, YFM ACCRA, JOY ACCRA, YFM TAKORADI.
One amazing thing to discover is that the Beyond the Return initiative is a fantastic initiative to boost domestic tourism. It is a “Decade of African Renaissance” and a 10-year project building on the success of the “Year of Return” to grow Ghana’s tourism industry and showcase its investment potential, as well as solidify its Diaspora engagement programs.
It is focal to note that, there are seven pillars of Beyond the Return. These Pillars include: Experience Ghana, Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation, invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Give Back Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, and Brand Ghana.
With all these measures put in place to intensify domestic tourism, let us not be spectators in the tourism industry but gurus of domestic tourism.
Interestingly, domestic tourism can thrive when citizens develop a keen interest in patronizing our tourists’ sites. It is a well-known fact that Ghana is blessed with some of the most incredible sites in the world.
With many of these attractions in their natural state, lovers of nature and eco-tourists will find the country the best to be for some real tourism adventure. It can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that, if Ghanaians see the good in domestic tourism, the industry will flourish and will be a better place to be.
As gurus of domestic tourism, let our journey in the industry end in lovers meeting where we can’t do away with domestic tourism. As said by G.K. Chesterton “
The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at least to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” As gurus of domestic tourism, let us travel happily to see the light in domestic tourism. Remember, Danny Kaye once said” to travel is to take a journey into yourself”.
And “yourself” is your Country where the love and excitement of your birth began.
Be a guru in domestic tourism where all allegiance to one’s motherland begins.
As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, let us all strive to patronize our own, not forgetting to adhere strictly to all the protocols associated with it.
KAKUM NATIONAL PARK
Evelyn Adaku Foli
National Service Personnel
Corporate Affairs Department
Ghana Tourism Authority
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