GHANA TOURISM: NO POLITICAL WILL

Posted on November 5, 2012

7


Last Tuesday, October 30, Ghana witnessed its first presidential flag bearers debate where a sitting president participated. Truly a grand step forward in Ghana’s democracy.

But in this five hour debate there was NOT ONE MENTION of the tourism sector as a contributor to job and wealth creation. My family and I watched about half the debate and the next morning I posted on my Facebook page:

“Say, re the 5 hr presidential debate, was there any mention of tourism? We lasted about two hours and missed the end.”

Well almost immediately this reply came back:

Donkor Sampson IS IT NOT STRANGE THAT THE COUNTRY’S SO CALLED 4TH FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNER IS NOT MENTIONED BY ANY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES?

Sampson Donkor is the Deputy CEO at the Ghana Tourism Authority.

Samson Donkor


Later that same morning, I was at a local library here in Kumasi and had a few moments to browse through the Daily Graphic of October 31. Imagine my amazement to see this article on the business page on page 53! MY, WHAT A QUICK RESPONSE! The article must have been written in advance and held to be published immediately following the debate. Mr. Donkor must have successfully predicted the omission of tourism from the debate despite the focus on jobs and the economy.

Here’s the article.

One quote from Mr Donkor that particularly caught my attention in referring to politicians and officials was “What is even interesting is that there are the sme people who travel around the world and to countries where tourism is their premium income earner yet they do not see the need to be committed to the local tourism industry, he lamented.”

madinghana’s comment on this: In fact, government works against tourism development by:

1. increasing VISA requirements making it increasingly harder to acquire a short term tourist visa
2. failing to monitor and advise hotels in the Greater Accra Region on their escalating hotel rates
3. planning professional development sessions, which, incidentally, participants pay for, then cancelling them
4. passing the Act 817 which introduces a new tourism tax to be paid by the tourist on top of the 15% VAT
5. patronage appointments of Minister of Tourism and, alas, Executive Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority.
(have you got some more?)

Furthermore, I think this quote points to the fact that government lacks any confidence in the people to provide services in the hospitality sector. Imagine these bigwigs travelling and encountering the West and the East and the luxury of both. Now what would go through their minds? “We can’t do that. Our infrastructure is so undeveloped we would be able to match this service delivery. And look at our human resources….

Better we just stick to focussing on our natural resources. They are a sure-fire thing. The revenues are big and we see them….”

Yes, all this is conjecture, but let me tell you nothing substantial has been done in the tourism sector for all the years we’ve been open here at Four Villages Inn which goes back to January 1, 2000. In fact, even the Ghana Tourism Awards which were held ever two years haven’t been held since 2008 I believe. They were announced to take place in August, 2011…

“National Tourism Awards
The Ghana Tourist Board will organize the 9th National Tourism Awards event in August 2011. The awards are aimed at recognizing and rewarding outstanding leadership in the tourism and travel industry as well as promoting tourism excellence in Ghana.”

but alas like everything…nothing took place!

Now here is a challenge (madinghana always the teacher).

Go to to the http://www.touringghana.com site the official site of the Ghana Tourism Authority that was last updated in 2008. Click on the accommodation icon and click on any letter….now what do you discover when you try to proceed to see all the listings?

Advice for new establishments, begin the name of your hotel with any letter but then follow it with a double aa so that your hotel will get listed under that letter! ugh……

Hey, here’s no. 6 to add to the list above on government working against tourism development!

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