Accra, Ghana, July 18, 2019//-Ghana’s quest of revitalizing its tourism industry within the short-term has given a major boost following the setting up of a chamber.
The new industry Chamber For Tourism Industry Ghana (CTI) Ghana which has membership from all the sub-sectors of the country’s tourism industry.
Madam Odelia Ofori, a multiple award winning who is the Founder and CEO of CTI Ghana, is confident the chamber would help put the country’s tourism potential on the global map.
She said: “We hope to have 5,000 members in Ghana and have chapters in different countries abroad. This is expected to help in our lobbying of governments and getting partnerships and opportunities all over the world to boost the growth of tourism in the country”.
We also hope to train members in the industry to be the best at what they do to present Ghana as one of the leading tourism countries in Africa since we are not part of the top 10 destinations, Madam Ofori, told African Eye Report.
With the setting up of the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana, we hope to simply sell Ghana to the world and help boost revenues for the sector, not leaving out women, she added.
According to UN statistics, tourism is one of the leading sectors employing more women and this has to continuously be a driving force for women.
Madam Ofori observed: “Hitherto individuals presented a fragmented front both to government and international organisations but with the Chamber it’s a collection of various ideas and opportunities under the same umbrella for the industry”.
Criteria for membership
For you or your organisation to be a member of the Chamber, You must be in the travel, tour and hospitality industry, simply anything tourism, according to her. “There is a free membership and a paid membership. Paid members get some special services”.
When asked how different is the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana from others, she answered: “The Chamber is a free and premium paying one. This is to make sure no one in the industry is left out of the consolidation”.
The Chamber which has 100 members comprising individuals and associations’ members from various organizations is aimed at bringing all players in the industry together for common goals, provide solutions to the sector based on research, and provide training and opportunities for all members.
Plans are also at foot for the Chamber to collaborate with other associations in and outside the country.
“We currently have a verbal agreement for training and collaboration with SevenWomen, an Australian tour organization based in Nepal and FairAfrica a chocolate manufacturing firm in Germany promoting Ghana through cocoa production”, Madam Ofori stressed.
“Tourism is gradually becoming the heartbeat of many economies in the world and Ghana being the Center of the World, rich in natural resources and having a history of slave trade though unfortunate has become internationally recognized in tourism”.
Ghana could raise Africa’s tourism bar
Indeed, continued economic growth in many African countries is driving greater interest in the continent from a tourism perspective but it is interesting to see that Ghana, in particular, is proving increasingly attractive as a leisure tourism destination.
Wayne Troughton, CEO of specialist global hospitality and tourism consultancy HTI Consulting, explained: “In many ways this is not surprising”.
“Particularly considering Ghana’s natural beauty and unspoiled coastline, its cultural and historical heritage as well as it is relative political safety under the new government elected in December 2016,” he stated.
“But, in the past, these assets remained largely underexplored by foreign visitors, many of whom visited Ghana purely to investigate business opportunities in what still remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world.”
“The difference now, however, is that, with a number of promotional initiatives underway, the country’s new administration is making a dedicated push to transform Ghana into a leisure tourism destination,” Mr Troughton further explained.
A veritable slew of ongoing projects, such as the World Bank approved a facility of USD 40 million to the Ghana Tourism Development Project.
The project will enhance the tourism sector’s offerings in targeted destinations; diversify its impact and help increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the Ghanaian economy.
It will also support the aviation sector as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises, which will benefit from improved access to markets, better public goods provision in the targeted tourism destinations, and better skilled workers.
Also, the newly built terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport and significant road upgrades, have further given to boost to the West African country.
This is good news for the region, and Ghana in particular, given its political stability and friendly people. Although not exposed to any major incidents similar to attacks in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire in 2016, Ghana’s security measures have been tightened.
“The ability to attract more private capital and ensure sustained spending on infrastructure remains a priority. Addressing prices constitutes another priority,” explained Troughton, “allowing Ghana to become a more affordable destination compared to its African peers.”
“According to the research recently undertaken by HTI Consulting in Ghana, where focus was placed on understanding the levels of demand for leisure hotels in the country, Ghana has yet to make strong in-roads into the international leisure market, however, demand from local, expatriate and regional leisure tourists is growing, particularly as economic conditions in West Africa improve,” he said.
“Though tourism data for Ghana remains largely outdated,” Mr Troughton revealed that, “it is estimated that approximately 20% of the almost one million visitors to Ghana, travel for purposes of leisure”.
According to the 2018 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTCC) leisure travel spending (inbound and domestic) generated 66.5% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2017 (GHC6, 854.3mn) compared with 33.5% for business travel spending (GHC3, 455.2mn).
The potential for expanding leisure tourism is significant. There has been an increase in quality hotel supply in recent years, driven by the arrival of a number of international hotel chains such as the Kempinski-branded, five-star Gold Coast City hotel and the Accra Marriott Hotel, which followed on the heels of other international entrants such as Mövenpick, Holiday Inn and Golden Tulip.
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report