Lagging Ghana to intensify focus on tourism

Published on : Wednesday, November 13, 2013

download-211Ghana had set a target of one million arrivals to the country five years ago. That target was set by the government and was envisaged to be achieved by 2010.After Gold, Cocoa and remittance- it’s tourism in Ghana. According to a report by the Ghana Tourism Authority it earned this West African country $2,5 billion last year from 1,263,857 international tourists who cleared Ghana immigration according to data disclosed at the World Travel Market in London last week.

The achievement, however, offers cold comfort, for, although officials of both the Ministry of Tourism and the GTA think that “we are living up to our dream”, Ghana’s piece of the global tourism pie is considered an insignificant drop in the vast global ocean, seen from the global perspective.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourism receipts reached an estimated US$ 1,075 billion worldwide.Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world..Modern tourism is closely linked to development. Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles.

In Ghana, however, the dream is far from reality. Successive governments, without exception, have not shown enough commitment beyond rhetoric and good intentions. To succeed as a tourism destination, the intentions have to translate into larger budgetary allocations for the sector.

The current Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, with an eye on the one per cent Tourism Levy (also known as Bed Tax) collected by private operators, is determined that “the dreaming must stop”. She has plans to call a stakeholder meeting soon, partnering with the umbrella Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), to strategise the way forward for collection of the levy. At the moment, although 90 per cent of the tourism plants have been registered to collect, only the big hotels are doing so faithfully.

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