Renowned entertainment journalist and host of the Power Midmorning show on Power 97.9 FM, Agyemang Prempeh (Agyemang Nie) has blamed the government for the seeming lack of interest in Ghanaians for local tourist sites.
He particularly observed the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) are not doing much to make Ghanaians develop the habit of visiting tourist sites dotted across the country, stressing that tourists would patronize the facilities if the government prioritizes the revamp of these tourist facilities.
Speaking to Prince Minkah from the studio of Power FM Thursday, the award-winning broadcaster who has almost 2 decades of broadcasting experience indicated that visiting tourist centres help people release stress, meet new people, know new places and also help them appreciate the culture of the people in such areas.
However, he was quick to add that the state of most tourist sites were in a deplorable state while the road linking the ones that are fairly attractive are unmotorable.
“I travelled to the Eastern region for site seeing not long ago but had to get down from the car to weed some portions of the road before we could reach the place…meanwhile the government could work on all these,” the Power entertainment host stated.
He went on to admit that although the government had taken steps to revamp the tourism industry that nearly went on its knees last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he hastened that the Ghana Tourism Authority could do more to promote the beautiful sceneries the country can boast of to boost local tourism.
“We at Power FM have taken upon ourselves to promote travel and tourism in this country by introducing ‘Tourism Education’ but the stakeholders who matter are not doing well to inculcate local tourism in Ghanaians,” Agyemang added.
Ghana’s quest to increase tourist arrivals amidst high hotel prices
There have been concerns about the nearly 20 taxes and levies slapped on patrons in the tourism and hospitality industry, which seems to discourage travellers and tourists who want to explore Ghana.
According to a Business and Financial Times (B&FT) report, Ghana has become an expensive tourist destination in the West Africa sub region in comparison to other similar destinations on the continent because of the tax hikes.
However, the Government has pledged to increase tourist arrivals in the country.
On June 1, 2021, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo launched the Domestic and Regional Tourism Campaign, designed to stimulate the local tourism industry and to drive both local and international tourists into Ghana.
The 18-month long campaign, being championed by the Tourism Ministry and the Ghana Tourism Authority, targets increasing domestic tourist arrivals to 600,000 by 2022 and to one million by 2024.
With this initiative, the country hopes to also increase international tourist arrivals from the West African sub region alone, from the current 180,000 to 400,000 by 2024.
But recent pricing mechanisms in the country’s hospitality sector, could hinder this agenda and curtail the growth of local tourism’s contribution to GDP from visiting leisure tourists, adventure tourists, eco tourists, food tourists, business tourists and wildlife tourists, who may consider prices in other jurisdictions as alternatives.
By Henryson Okrah|Myxyzonline.com|Ghana