HAPPY WORLD TOURISM DAY 2014: AND GHANA TOURISM IS NOT AN EMBARRASSMENT!

Posted on September 26, 2014

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Yes, today is the day the world celebrates tourism, domestic and international, as a major contributor to economies and development. The stats are flying, and flying high, I might add, as numbers are increasing beyond all expectations. Ghana too is now starting to take interest in her stats recently forming a committee to get the job done.

This is the infographic shared on the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization). It’s appropriate as it represents the nitty-gritty of what tourism is all about!
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There were other infographics focusing on this year’s theme: TOURISM AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.
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Now to Ghana and as indicated in the last post Nkrumah’s Legacy, I’m going to post about the Ghana’s 1% tourism levy to help finance development of the tourism industry.
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A couple of day’s ago, the Ministry of Tourism announced in an article entitled “Tourism Levy fetches GH¢6.48m in 20 months” the total amount collected since October, 2012 and that they would be starting to use the money. What caught my attention were comments made by Herbert Aquaye, the National President of the powerful Ghana Hotels Association.

To summarize, he said that the money should be spent on tourism products, improving the old ones and creating new ones. I agree, attractions such as the Nkrumah Rest House, the Asante traditional building at Besease, Ashanti and the Yaa Asantewaa museum at Ejisu, Ashanti that burnt down in 2005. This is all about all about the UNWTO’s PROTECTING HERITAGE goal that increased tourism promotes!

But then he went on to advocate training tourism professionals.

“We need to have very well-trained professionals in the hospitality industry. We must train people, and must get ready as an industry, before we start promoting and bringing too many people into the country or we will embarrass ourselves.

On this I do not agree…I believe training for the most part can take place on the job. If indeed, as he stated, 80% of senior management is not local, then they have a responsibility to train. In fact, in celebrating World Tourism Day, the UNWTO posted this:
UNWTO training
“[The tourism] sector has offered me the opportunity to grow, not only as a human being, but also as a professional.”

Alonso Bermúdez Paniagua started working in Hotel Punta Islita in Costa Rica fifteen years ago as a front desk representative, and is now the resident manager of the property.

My strategy is to start today to promote tourism to make a positive impact in people’s’ lives and in their communities. Let’s not wait as Mr Aquaye suggests when “He added that once both tasks had been completed, the country could then talk about marketing those products to the international community.”

And lastly, this is the same Mr Aquaye that said he was on board in supporting the Facebook group campaign advocating for SCRAP SHORT TERM TOURIST VISAS TO GHANA. Guess he had a change of heart…

And again more next post on the tourist levy….

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