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Opinions of Monday, 31 March 2014

Columnist: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley

Ghana Sitting on Riches?

The Case of Ghana Tourist Authority!

By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Brookview M.S., Toronto-Canada

A video on the natural and human endowments of Ghana, a beautiful and hospitable country in West Africa by the Ghana Tourist Authority which has been in circulation on the social media since November, last year, has once again caught my attention to the ‘riches’ on which Ghana is sitting! Oh my beautiful Ghana!! I thank God for such endowments. However, the question then arises: Why is Ghana ‘poor’ in the midst of ‘plenty’? Let me use the industry of tourism to briefly examine this question and offer suggestion for possible solution.
Research shows that tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. It can be domestic or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country's balance of payments. Today, tourism is major source of income for many countries, and affects the economy of both the source and host countries, in some cases it is of vital importance.
The industry of tourism in Ghana is run by a ministry which was created in 1993 to promote, develop and coordinate tourism related activities in the country. It is on record that 1,087,000 million tourists visited Ghana in 2011. The country is endowed with all year round tropical climate and exotic wildlifes which are sources of major attraction to many tourists (both local and international). The country’s tourist attractions include waterfalls such as Kintampo Waterfalls and the largest waterfall in west Africa, Tagbo Falls; Ghana's coastal palm-lined sandy beaches; caves; mountains, rivers; meteorite impact crater and reservoirs and lakes such as Lake Bosumtwi or Bosumtwi meteorite crater and the largest lake in the world by surface area, Lake Volta; dozens of castles and forts; UNESCO World Heritage Sites; nature reserves and national parks such as the Kakum National Park and the Mole National Park. What a category of tourist attractions in the land of peace and political stability, called Ghana! After 57 years of independence from colonial rule Ghana ought to grow in her tourist industry!!
“The World Economic Forum statistics in 2010 showed that Ghana was 108th out of 139 countries as world’s favorite tourism destinations. The country had moved two places up from the 2009 rankings. In 2011, Forbes Magazine, published that Ghana was ranked the eleventh most friendly country in the world. The assertion was based on a survey in 2010 of a cross-section of travelers. Of all the African countries that were included in the survey Ghana ranked highest. Tourism is the fourth highest earner of foreign exchange for the country.”
I feel nostalgia viewing the Ghana Tourist Authority’s video! It reminds me of my numerous visits with my students through the GBC Fan Club & Wildlife Clubs of Ghana to many of these places in the 1980s! Then the roads were good! It was safe to travel in Ghana! The government must maintain these roads and improve security in the country.
Ghana Tourist Industry headed by an appointed minister is 'sitting' on money! Get the government to construct good roads to these places!
Promote local tourism! Organize good trips to such places for our locals for even their 20 & 50 cedis! Don't wait for the foreign tourists! CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME!! Ghana is rich! Manage it well!!!!!!!