The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has begun its aggressive promotion of domestic tourism, amidst strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. In an exclusive interview with Real Estate Times Africa, the Director of Corporate Affairs of the GTA, Mr. Jones Aruna Nelson said that though many public mass activities and events have been toned down due to Covid-19, tourism was still being promoted domestically by the Authority.
“We are aggressively promoting domestic tourism….adhering strictly to the [Covid-19] protocols - washing of hands, face masks and all that. So we are encouraging travel and tours to organise tours for people to go on. Go on tours for domestic tourism. Quite recently, we have launched ‘Let’s Tour Ghana’, so they will also be having some tours here and there”, he urged.
According to him, the GTA with its recent media campaigns was also encouraging the private sector to massively participate.
“Apart from that, if you look at the private sector, there are going to be tours to various places.
You realise we have this ‘see Ghana, eat Ghana, wear Ghana, feel Ghana 2017 to boost domestic tourism and then promote Ghana as a destination; and then also increase arrivals in terms of domestic tourism. During the lockdown, Covid-19 hit the tourism industry hardly, but what else can we do? Necessity is the mother of invention, so we came up with campaigns: ‘stay safe – know Ghana, stay home – know Ghana.
Mr. Jones Aruna Nelson explained further that, the initiative also involved a choice to undertake a tourism education online and earning of certificates:
“And then we have Ghana Guru – an online campaign to encourage Ghanaians to log on to the GTA websites and do short courses in modules on sites and attractions, and obtain certificates afterwards. This initiative was introduced by the GTA during the partial lockdown.
We’ve also done this: stay safe, discover Ghana, and then, Let’s Tour Ghana - we’ve launched a tourist club initiated by the 2020/2021 National Service Personnel. And they had their first tour at the Chenku Falls and Shai Hills Resource Reserves recently. So we are bringing all these things on board for Ghanaians to be well abreast with them”, he revealed.
The Director of Corporate Affairs expressed concern about the fact that Ghanaians care less when it came to domestic tourism, and urged them to make time for it, as developed countries have done so to benefit them tremendously.
“In terms of domestic tourism, according to the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Mohommed Ibrahim Awal, he wants to increase the arrivals of domestic tourism to one (1) million. But then, if you look at the nature of our tourism and compare that to Asia, for instance if you go to Japan, China, they cash in more on domestic tourism than international tourism because of the fact that 1. the language, and 2. because of [how] far the place is. So they patronise their own. For them, they consciously do that. Tourism is restricted by two main factors – lack of discretionary income and lack of discretionary time. But the fact is this, you have to make time for it, you have to do savings for it; and consciously patronise your own – otherwise you will not be able to do it. In Ghana if someone is going for tourism, it is just about attending a wedding from Accra to Koforidua or attending a funeral from Accra to Kumasi and other events. But we need to consciously sensitise and educate the public on domestic tourism. So this is what we are doing in terms of the campaigns we are running alongside these events”, Mr. Jones said passionately.
Source: Yvette Appiah (Journalist, Real Estate Times Africa)