The current Coronavirus pandemic has necessitated the need for us to focus our attention on the domestic market for Ghana’s tourism growth. Like most countries around the world, Ghana’s tourism received a heavy battering following the onset of the pandemic. Just when the sector was set to see a turnaround with the highly successful ‘Year of Return,’ the advent of Coronavirus which in most cases, halted travel across countries and continents, unfortunately, rolled back the numbers and receipts.
Since then it has become necessary for government to introduce measures to cushion operators and industry players who have been at the receiving end of the harsh realities of the pandemic on the tourism sector.
In addition, government has had to find ways of ensuring continuity of Ghana’s tourism industry which has ultimately shifted attention to domestic tourism. Leading the charge in this regard, is the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) which has found several innovative and creative ways of selling Ghana to its citizens to promote and increase local travels to the many tourist attractions spread across the country.
The latest and current initiative, #ExperienceGhana #ShareGhana is a rallying call on all citizens to see the beautiful land of warmth, culture and rhythm. The acquisition of the double-decker coach for city tours is already adding to the enthusiasm that has so far characterized the launch of the new campaign.
For us as the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), we feel proud to be lending our support to the implementation of such noble initiatives. As a body whose overall mandate is to take people to experience and enjoy our attractions, we believe that we shoulder a sizable amount of the responsibility as far as the realization of the greater goal of driving at least one million Ghanaians yearly to tourist sites as espoused by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal is concerned.
It is not lost on us what the repercussion of the attainment of this ambitious target could be to the socio-economic growth of the country. And that is why we continue to wholeheartedly embrace and partner stakeholders in rolling out programmes that inure to the benefit of the domestic tourism agenda.
Since November last year, TOUGHA has embarked on tours to the Ashanti, Eastern and Central regions to update themselves of the current state of tourist sites in these areas. In doing so, the Union has also got to know less-known yet exciting sites that could be incorporated in our tour packages.
We are resolved to continue organizing these tours until we explore all 16 regions of Ghana. Beyond this, we feel particularly happy to be engaging the Ministry, GTA and other relevant agencies to put together tour packages at reduced and competitive rates for all and sundry.
We urge all sister tourism trade associations to follow in our example and come up with initiatives to drive and deepen domestic tourism. We are of the firm belief that domestic tourism is the cornerstone to building the resilience that the tourism industry has always been known for and we will continue to play our part in ensuring that Ghana becomes a preferred destination for her citizens and visitors across the world.
By: Alisa Osei-Asamoah
President, Tour Operators Union of Ghana