GHANA TOURISM: THE WAY FORWARD

Posted on November 20, 2014

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This article entitled Ghana unveils tourism development plan appeared on the Ghana Tourism Authority’s social media sites. It sparked an exchange initiated by one Olivier Malinur. There were four comments. I copied and pasted the first two on the Scrap Short term Tourist Visa to Ghana site, but then when I went to copy the second two they disappeared….I couldn’t find his response nor mine!

Anyways: here’s the first two:

Olivier MalinurYesterday 9:14 PM

1Reply When Senghor took power in Senegal, he acknowledged his country couldn’t be a major actor in agriculture or mining. So he thought tourism industry could be a source of revenue. But he didn’t start tourism before 1970 with Club Med. From 1963 to 1970, he put in place a program to train Senegalese youths in hospitality industry, cuisine, hotel etc…
This is what Ghana needs to put in place if it wants to seriously compete with Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania or even Gambia. When you look at the price and the services offered by hotels or restaurants in Ghana vs what you get in Gambia or Senegal, there is A LOT of progress to achieve here.

For info, in a real 5 star resort, similar to Labadi Hotel, full board per person is 220 cedis per day. This includes obviously all meals but also a jug with wine for lunch and diner and free access to the bar for non alcoholic drink.
And food was superior or equal to most hotels here.
Ghana has so much to offer but opening hotels is not the way to move, imho. Training people should be the priority, profit will come later.
1 hr · Like

Christopher Scott chris scott3:22 PM

Lots of food for thought, but don’t expect any conversation on GTA sites despite all the lip service paid to public-private partnership. Main idea here…need for in-service training..but who is to do it. NOT GOVERNMENT..they tried in the early 2000s then gave up around 2005. too massive an undertaking-spotty-rife with problems. It was disastrous. I hope that the GTA learned from that experience. Training must be responsibility of private sector-opportunity for consultants to do on-site training and through the professional associations. HOPE THIS, THE QUESTION OF WHO DOES THE TRAINING, IS DISCUSSED AT DEVELOPMENT FUND TABLE..WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY DISCUSS!!!!

Now I’ll paraphrases the rest from memory…Olivier started with the statement Private-public partnership is irrelevant. Then he wrote about the introduction of hospitality subjects in secondary school curriculum. Then he wrote about the lack of quality restaurants in Accra and mentioned how the good cooks were from Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire.

I replied that more than likely the cooks he referred to were taught on the job and not in secondary schools, that we had to think of the present that is training on the job because African tourism would pass us by.

Now where to go with this post..talk about training, no that point has already been made. Really it’s about the lack of discourse, exchange, dialogue, engagement, conversation. I was so happy to see somebody (Olivier) post something…then I respond and bingo out he goes…silence….There is a way forward to make tourism a major contributor to the economic development of Ghana, but it won’t happen if there is not communication, on-going communication such as facilitated by social media. But there is never any sustained conversation on the GTA or Ministry of Tourism sites. The committees meet periodically, discuss and decisions are made..hastily.

Of course, I wanted the idea to scrap short term tourist visas to be the focus of debate. After working in Ghana’s tourism industry for the past fifteen years, I was convinced that this measure would result in increased international leisure tourist arrivals to Ghana. At least it would brand Ghana as an open, accessible country and make her more competitive with the other African nations that have adopted this strategy to boost its tourism sector. But alas, no discussion….

Maybe, I should have started with training…players might think that Ghana is not ready to compete…things need to be done first…like train! So, I’ve come full circle and now I’ll ask the question on the GTA sites as they try to determine where to spend all that money collected through the tourism levy, about US$2,000,000.

And to conclude a quote from a Facebook friend:

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. This is wisdom for today.”

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