Tourist sites in all regions across Ghana have been earmarked for renovation, according to the acting CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman.
He said the move is to boost tourism in Ghana.
“The issue is partly because we are not taking the things God has given us seriously…We have 11 regions under our authority; Tema is one region so each region has identified three things that we need to fix so Paga for example, we are going to fix the place,” Mr. Agyeman told the Host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo last Friday.
He added: “There is some dredging that has to be done. We need a little hotel or motel around, we need to fence the place, we need to add on some audio visuals to make people understand the history of the place – there is a history to it so we are fixing it.”
He indicated that his office is collaborating with key agencies and Ministries to “fix certain fundamentals” which are negatively affecting the growth of the tourism industry.
Mr. Agyeman noted that although Ghana has announced a visa on arrival policy, some revisions need to be made.
“The visa regime is something that we’ve been pushing. We’ve announced that we have a visa on arrival policy. In as much as it is attractive, it’s still very expensive because one has to do some pre-approval…so we are working on it. It would be sorted out very soon,” he said.
Senegal, he said has abolished visas and with their equally attractive tourist sites, their tourism industry is flourishing “so if we don’t fix some of these fundamentals, we will do all the marketing, we will do everything but all would be like polish on dirt.”
On her part, Mrs. Stella Appenteng of Apstar Tours was of the view the nation’s tourism industry has stagnated because of certain key factors such as sanitation and expensive accommodation.
She opined: “Most people don’t want to come to our beaches because they’ve seen better beaches elsewhere; bluer and clearer waters…The cost of coming into Ghana and the expenditure is not in our favour. Ghana seems to be quite an expensive destination like our accommodation and transportation so it’s so difficult. Tourists have a choice to go to other places.”
A creative consultant, Mr. Mike Amon-Kwafo, recommended that if Ghanaians begin to see tourism as a product and then take deliberate steps to package it for sale, significant gains would be made.
“We walk by our senses so the average persons who comes in wants to satisfy their senses – what do they see? What do they hear? What do they taste? What do they touch? So fundamentally, when he moves his body into a new environment, he wants to have an exotic experience, something he is not used to,” he said.
“Our strength lies in building something that is different from what they are used to…We must be deliberate and additive like the ChaleWote Festival…the traditional things are there; how do we add up? How do we make it attractive enough for somebody to come and have a sensual experience?” he added.
The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo airs live on Starr FM every Friday from 7pm to 8pm and on GHOne TV on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.