Domestic tourism is one of the surest ways of getting the Ghanaian economy back on track from the ravaging effects of COVID-19. It’s a low hanging fruit that holds the key to unlocking our self-reliance and a buoyant economy.
People are not traveling en masse outside their home countries like they used to prior to the onset of Coronavirus. And with the second wave of the virus which has spread across Europe and elsewhere, forcing lockdowns and restrictions, our traditional source markets cannot be relied on at this time to shore up our tourism receipts. This calls for targeted domestic campaigns to woo the citizenry to our sites and attractions.
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Ghana Tourism Federation and other institutions must double up on the various domestic tourism drives, specifically “See Eat Wear Feel Ghana” and if necessary, come up with new ones. In this regard, I commend the GTA for introducing the Travel, Snap and Win initiative to encourage people to share their experiences of the tourist attractions they visit. This is certainly a good way to whip up people’s interest in domestic tourism and it needs to be supported and promoted. The Authority needs to be resourced financially and logistically to deepen their marketing and promotions.
Tour operators, accommodation facilities, transport companies must join hands to put together packages that are affordable to the ordinary Ghanaian. GTA should engage the media extensively in promoting our attractions. There should be conscientious effort to draw tourists to our attractions at this crucial moment of our national life.
The country boasts of rich vegetation and an inexhaustible supply of mineral wealth. But perhaps what sets out Ghana apart amongst her West African peers is its wide array of tourism offerings.
While the sub-region hasn’t yet developed a major traveller hub in the same way that some other regions of the continent have, Ghana is ready and eager to assume that mantle.
A culturally rich country with idyllic beaches and travel-perfect weather all year round, Ghana also has the political and economic stability required to scale a tourism industry. Ghana is a culturally diverse country with renowned culture- related celebrations that attract many visitors and tourists from around the world each year. Funerals in Ghana are some of the most elaborate and flamboyant in the world.
Traditional festivals add on to the colour and splendour of its rich culture. It’s capital, the City of Accra has become widely known as a melting pot of creative and artistic expression with a dazzling bit of the Skyscrapers of New York and the bright lights of Paris. Night life in Accra is a must-experience for anyone who enjoys whiling away the throes of the day in a party mood. Visitors and tourists to Ghana will find and enjoy the famous Ghanaian hospitality which is bolstered by the existence of some of the biggest names in hotel and accommodation in the world.
Pristine and white sand beaches are strewn across the country, making Ghana very ideal for anyone who revels in basking in the sun and sand.
Along the shores of Ghana’s vast coastline are forts and castles that are preserved as concrete reminders of the country’s involvement with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Many of these buildings are designated UNESCO World Heritage monuments which attract thousands of tourists from around the world.
Ghana has abundant wildlife with many national parks dedicated to protecting animals and promoting sustainability. The country is a paradise for bird watchers as it boasts of a wide range of bird species. Elephants and various monkey species also abound in these parks which also present the best of the country’s fauna. Dramatic and resplendent landscapes aided by man-made attractions such as the longest Canopy Walkway in Africa adds to the beauty of Ghana’s Ecotourism offering.
With a large repertoire of foods, Ghanaian delicacies and dishes are some of the most nutritious and worth drooling for.
There are spectacular sites and attractions that will help tourists understand the diverse settlement patterns of the various groups in the country. From the village on stilts in Nzulezo to the Tongo-Tengzuk Cultural Landscape and Sacred Shrines which for years have been inhabited by the Talensi people of the Upper East Region, all provide for a unique touristic experience.
The Volta Region and parts of the Eastern Region, notably the Kwahu area are all emerging as exciting and fast growing tourist areas that must be seen and explored.
So make no mistake, this piece is not for the foreign traveller; it is for you, the ordinary Ghanaian who wield the power to change the narrative of our tourism by the simple act of moving from your regular place of habitation to any other part of the country to travel, see and explore our beautiful land.
And whether you want to catch some waves on the many pristine beaches, visit the highly-photographed Cape Coast Castle, head north to hang with elephants at Mole National Park, or just soak in the rich flavours of Accra, there is always something for you here in Ghana; the land of warmth, culture and rhythm.
While we travel however, let us all be mindful of the COVID-19 protocols and observe them to ensure our health safety and that of the people we come into contact with.
The Writer, Samuel Obeng Appah is the Content Editor at VoyagesAfriq and is the 2019 Tourism Writer of the Year