Scaling up tourism to global level 2
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Scaling up tourism to global level 2

Last week Graphic Business/ Stanbic Bank brought to our cherished readers and audiences the first quarter breakfast meeting at the Labadi Beach Hotel.

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The level of participation both at the event venue and on our online feed under this topic showed the interest that the topic generated among many operators in the sector and general public as a whole.

It is telling that the sector needs a special focus. There are real challenges with this sector.

The frustration within the sector cuts across policy initiators and implementors to hoteliers, tour operators, to attitudinal challenges with workforce.

A 360 bird’s-eye view of the sector will show that at every stage of the value change of the tourism industry there are inherent problems, some of which don’t require money to fix. They just need leadership and concerted efforts of all players to address them head-on.

But a major hindrance pulling back the sector to achieve its potential is and has always been the lack of investment in the sector.

Two issues caught our attention during the event. The comments shared by the Managing Director of the Labadi Beach, Mr David Eduaful- The importation of beef and other goods into the country by the hospitality business and the attitude of workers in especially the tourism value-chain.

Even though these issues are not new, it begs the question what value do we place on the tourism sector in the country?

For international hotels, such as Labadi Beach Hotel, they required a certain minimum standard and of course assured supply of products all year through. So, they cannot be blamed for importing beef from all over the world if there is no local capacity to deliver on quality and on schedule.

It is therefore, a policy failure in the first place to allow the importation of certain food items in the country including beef. 

Therefore, for most of the star-rated hotels, their best option is to import beef when indeed, we can with the right support and incentive produce beef in abundance in this country.

No country has ever developed its tourism sector without a deliberate action plan and taking the hard decisions that will position the country competitively and comparatively to attract tourists from all over the world.

Needless to reiterate that the tourism sector has huge and untapped potential. What is needed is strategically positioning the sector in the national scheme of things.

We share the concerns of industry players that the tourism sector should be brought to the front burner of policy decision because of its huge impact on the economy.

While at it, we must understand that the world is not waiting for us to get our actions right before they take over our space with regard to our tourism potential.

The second thing is the attitude of the ordinary Ghanaian worker. Attitude is a big thing in this country. Services sector, especially, at all times thrives on customer satisfaction. The experience one gets is a big part of the decision making to have repeat purchases or not.

If we profess to be a hospitality nation, it must show in the kind of service delivery we offer our clients. For this sector, the tourism sector, to thrive, the human factor has to be addressed head-on. 

Graphic Business thinks we have to pay critical attention to building the human capacity and change the narrative about the bad attitude of Ghanaian workers towards work.

We can invest all the capital in infrastructure, stop the imports of beef and incentivise the sector to grow in leaps and bounds. However, if we do not have the workforce with the right attitudes and mindset, we will fail to make the tourism sector the golden egg.

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