You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2008 02 12Article 138994

Opinions of Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Columnist: Bolus, Mercy Adede

Ghana's unexplored, undiscovered honey pot!

Re visited!

The riches of the world are the natural resources plus peace. Has Ghana as a nation got all it takes to make a difference to the rat race style of the Wsetern society? Indeed we have!

Ghana has the land, the seas, rivers, streams, beaches, sand, mountains, nature, wild life and waterfalls In addition we have the valleys, fauna and flora, tropical rains, tropical forest with exotic fruits, a great deal of good weather most of the time, stability and a very tolerant environment with many of its’ people fluent in English and French.

Lastly, a lovely smiles that soothes very broken heart is our warmness and acceptance of people regardless where they come from . Ghana’s hospitality is next to none and many parts of Africa too.

All the above make Ghana to have a Unique Selling Point to tourism. As this is an excellent tapestry is woven into the fabric of Ghana. Fact! Why is Ghana not integrating cultural from our neighbouring Morrocco, Tunisia and South Africa’s toruist expertise into ours.

How could we as a nation differentiate ourselves?

Do we understand the term tourism and to what extent it fully entails?

Ghana is not really cashing in on the various festivals we have around the clock, Carnivals, seasonal celebrations etc. Chiefs in the villages must try and educate their community in maintening a clean environment and building basic faciltieis for example public toilets, museums, libraries to attract tourists to their bit of Ghana. There is no need to just sit and expect the tourist to give us money if we oursleves are not proactively using strategies that could bring money into our communties.

Do we have any contingency plans if our strategy fails to sustain growth in this industry?

Given the competitive structure of the tourist industry and our naivety as potential entrants? Are we well prepared for the task ahead? Let’s me honest with ourselves!

Have we done our qualitative and quantitative research necessary to ascertain what exactly our potential customers would want from a specific place we are marketing?

Have we considered the right marketing mix for our product (tourism)?

Entertainment: - have we considered what type of street entertainment we might offer the tourists? Bowling, ice skating, shows theatres, art and craft, workshops showing our culture and heritage, volley balls, and beach footabll games etc.

Waste management: - what effective system do we have running in terms of collection delivery of waste nation-wide?

Relaxation: - Do we have enough relaxation and rest facilities for example café’ in every city, town and villages that tourists could stop and rest for a while before continuing their journey?

Chain of Restaurants or food stop over: - Do we have many chain restaurants providing a standardised services across the country as we see in some countries let’s a chain of mini food café owned by one company?

How effective do we use our rivers i.e. providing river transport or for leisure and perhaps extending this into areas such as evening dining on a cruise boat.

Have we made an effective communication links with the River Volta as compared to the River Thames in terms of bridging communities together with solid bridges, minor bridges and not just the famous ones eg Akosombo and Sogakope bridges? This is a potential growth yet been overlooked.

Lack of regular maintenance to the River Volta hardly exists. Hence, causing the recent major accident on the river due to debris of logs displacing boats etc. Whose responsibility is it anyway?

Do we have unique shops worth visiting? Other than art and craft at the arts centre? Ideally every town or village may need to have such shops so that if a tourists visits a particular area they do engage in a shopping spree.

Where do we stand in terms of the logistics of the supplies needed for the tourists? Are they readily available in Ghana? Could we make them ourselves, if do we import them using a just in time services providers.

Made in Ghana goods must be encouraged. Every village oe town must have a souvenir shops to sell simple things like our local fans, mugs, mini straw mat, brooms, art and craft , tie and dye etc.

Made in Ghana goods should be highly encouraged in schools , Universities and vocational colleges.

As Ghana can’t go to China to manufacture its products there is a need encourage quality products on our markets to raise our profile. Thus this would boost our economy and generate much needed employment.

What about customer service and service delivery? Is it up to an acceptable standard? We lack the areas of marketing, customer service and engaging in a long term relationship with our customers. Also Ghana need to have so many mini Aburi gardens in every town, village in order to improve our surrounding and make them mor einviting for toruist attractions.

Is Ghana’s infrastructure improving to an acceptable standard across the country?

Does our new motor ways interchange have an effective traffic light system directing traffic during busy times? Ideally, 24 traffic set lights needed for each interchange.

Information sharing nation-wide - do we have information centres that sell maps of every city, towns and village to help tourists to navigate our roads and surroundings? As well as tour guide bookings?

Are schools engaging children to participate in map reading and map making skills as this encourages spatial awareness?

Have we got street names to facilitate easy mobility throughout our country?

Security: - is our police force fully equipped to attend crisis situation within an agreed call time?

Do we have a health and safety health act in place in hospitals, schools and tourist’s spots in case of fire as well as a yearly updates to ensure that staff at every workplace go through the fire safety drill?

Is our ambulance service equipped with basic life support facilities and trained personal with an agreed call time?

Are the hygiene factors for the police force acceptable, by this I mean adequate offices for the police at barriers have toilet facilities, a small kitchenette and improved resting rooms?

Does Ghana have many public toilets that tourists could also comfortably use? May be at our Main Transport stations and other resorts?

Car parks: - Are our car parks self maintaining and self financing with parking attendants collecting a small fee or it is free parking with no maintenance what so ever?

Cleanliness: - Are our city centres a welcoming place to be and sit to reflect or it would be advisable to encourage the purchase of a mask due to lack of proper sanitation around our cities?

What system do we have in place to ensure an effective morning and evening cleaning arrangement of our city centres?

Do we have enough benches around the cities?

Ghana has the land all right, but do we have range of shops, leisure areas in the way of public Aquariums, bird parks, mini museums and theme parks. What are other countries offering their customers in this area would be helpful to find out?

These areas are our honey pot!

Many of Ghanaians are aware of the Minister of Tourism’s determination to turn Ghana into a lovely Tourist resort, which is great news.

How could Ghana ensure arrival into this new market of tourism when the homework has just begun?

Citizens of Ghana we need to strategically position ourselves in a high quadrant in the mapping grid in order to be counted as “the number one tourists destination”. Otherwise we would be stuck in the mud! (Porter’s five forces theory).

Are Ghanaians getting their communities ready to be planting more trees, donating benches in memory of a beloved one instead of having expensive funerals, using natural stones, pebbles, oyster shelves etc to create a unique must see areas?

Are property owners whether humble homes or not encouraging tourist into them homes through a bed and breakfast accommodation? This is where customers use the accommodation from 2pm -and are gone by 12 noon? All you need to provide is breakfast. Charges may vary depending on the smartness of the accomodation. Please do check with the Ghana Tourist Board at Tesano.

Have we considered what is currently serve for breakfast menu on a balck baord with the price listed before guest come, for example cup of tea and freshly baked bread with fresh honey not butter or margarine? Also offer lots of fruits, pawpaw with breakfast, fresh coconut, custard apples, guava etc.

Every Ghanaian must endeavour to pull all vital connections and businesses to Ghana, our Government may need to consider humbling themselves and listen more to Ghanaians in Diaspora who are living, working and mixing with our potential customers, the tourists across the world. Ghanaians are every where one could think of. This is the only way forward.

Our Government needs to effectively integrate these unique resources into their strategic planning. Why pay for foreign consultants to inform Ghanaians what they perceive would be good for Ghana. Couldn’t Ghanaians in Diaspora with key positions do this better then anyone else? Try us and see. The sharing alone through the Internet must alert our Government that what’s up?

Such interaction is the marketing intelligence, crucial element needed to manipulate and exploit, in order to ensure our arrival in this tourist industry.

This is why is becomes even more significant that, the Minister of Tourism establishes an appointment system accessible for every Ghanaian to walk into their nearest High Commission to share vital intelligence to facilitate this important transformation.

Ghanaians every where in Diaspora are yearning to turn their underdeveloped country into a land of hope and opportunities. Thereby improving the general standard of living and increasing our creative outlook. The plead is to be given the chance.

When this homework has been explored and captured then the honey would be flowing and trickling into every home. Well! It signals that, the honey pot has been discovered the tourist bees will soon be buzzing around.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.