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General News of Sunday, 9 March 2014

Source: Enimil Ashon, Berlin | Citifmonline

Ghana ranked ninth attractive tourist destination in Africa

Ghana shot up one spot in 2013 to become the ninth most attractive country in Africa to international tourists, according to a survey conducted by Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking for Trade and Tourism, considered the most comprehensive Brand Index of its kind, worldwide.

The eight countries ahead of Ghana, out of 42 countries surveyed in Africa were South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia and Tanzania. In the third survey conducted two years ago, Ghana ranked 10th.

The methodology used included online search demand, social media and tourism arrivals, and receipts as compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Disclosing this during a meeting with Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, at Ghana’s stand on the opening day of this year’s ITB Berlin, Germany, Mr Dominic Wojnowski, the Digital Demand Engineer of Madrid-based Bloom Consulting, quoted a recent Google study that found that 70% of leisure travellers began researching their trip online without a specific destination or mode of travel in mind. In 2012 alone, tourists made around 375,000.000 online searches related to tourism activities at a country level.

The more online tourism related searches a country has from international tourists, the more appealing it is, regardless of its size or the type of tourism it attracts.

“If one applies common sense to this variable,” Mr Wojnowski said, “it is easy to understand that tourists prefer to travel to a country they like or have emotional attachments to rather than to a country for which this is not the case.”

With this in mind, Bloom Consulting has developed a proprietary tool, the Online Search Demand which measures the appeal of a country for each target audience. “These results demonstrate a country’s appeal and allow us to classify and measure a country brand performance from a new point of view based on hard data rather than perceptions, surveys or expert opinions, ” he said.

Mr. Wojnowski regretted that Ghana’s online presence was not coordinated on a single platform. You have to look for this information on the Ghana Tourism Authority website and then another on the Ghana Tourist Development website and others on the website of the Ministry of Tourism”.

Earlier, Mrs. Ofosu-Adjare had briefed Mr. Wojnowski on Ghana’s tourist attractions. Above all, however, she said, “Ghana boasts of peace and stability both for the tourist and the investor. What is the use of an attraction when tourists fear to come to the country?” She pointed out, adding; “You may have a nice beach, but because the country is unsafe, the tourist fears that he or she may be shot dead by the next morning. That is why in addition to heritage, culture and history which we offer in abundance, Ghana places so much premium on being the peaceful country all around.”

Present were Mr. Samuel Atta Mills, Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourist Development Company (GTDC) and Mr. Humphrey Kuma, a Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.