Just like every nation, Ghana’s greatest asset is its people. The country is regarded as one of the friendliest countries in the world.
The former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Taleb Rifai, after visiting Ghana noted, “there is nothing like the experience of being with wonderful, beautiful, warm and hospitable people of Ghana, if you haven’t visited Ghana yet then you don’t know what you are missing”.
It is satisfying to note that the tourism industry in Ghana continues to experience steady growth, despite challenging conditions.
Through private investors, Ghana has experienced an upsurge of investments in tourism facilities such as the Marine Drive project, international hotel chains, local accommodation facilities, restaurants and transport services among others.
However, being recognised as the warmest people and investing in infrastructure is only one side of the equation to make Ghana the destination of choice.
Quite unfortunately however, the most important investment that would project us as the preferred destination is what we pay little attention to. This is the area of Quality Service Delivery. Quality service delivery continues to be the neglected factor in Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry. Quality service must go with the employment of qualified personnel and or equipping them with relevant skills to meet and ‘wow’ customers in terms of their expectations.
Tourists who travel to Ghana receive the warmest welcome but are met with poor services rendered by the hospitality agencies. Whilst we are selling destination Ghana as a place with interesting tourist sites, hospitable people, good food and music, we must be able to also sell it as a place with best service providers.
It is a plus for us as a country to be rated as the warmest destination, but let’s not forget that once the service provided is not to the satisfaction of the visitor, they tend to concentrate more on the poor service rendered than the good reception they received.
In marketing, it is often said that ‘if a customer is satisfied, he introduces ten more customers to a product or service’, on the other hand, ‘if a customer is dissatisfied he takes five customers away from the product or service’.
Tourists all over the world including domestic ones are discerning. The industry therefore thrives on quality service as these attract repeat visits which generate positive referrals and endorsements. Quality services also serve as a marketing tool that creates positive impression to visitors, thereby ultimately reflecting our image of being a “Uniquely Welcoming” destination.
As a tourism destination, there is the need to improve on the service delivery, that is the smiles, welcoming guest as they arrive, looking sharp and serving them on time as well as providing them with the basic needs they request for on arrival.
To achieve our aim as a competitive tourism destination in West Africa and the world as a whole, our tourist sites should be well managed. We must protect and build on our natural and man-made resources and again, maintain our friendliness to be in harmony with the service delivery.
The Ghana Tourism Authority must be commended for their recent initiative which was in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Federation to train, educate and sensitize the informal catering sector, with the objective to improve the quality of service delivery within that sector and also to equip operators with requisite skills in order to render professional catering services.
By: Darling Asieduwaa Ntiamoah
Ghana Tourism Authority.