Scaling up tourism to global level

Scaling up tourism to global level

Tourism has long been held as the golden egg that has the potential to uplift our economy to greater heights. Examples abound around the world where leaders have positioned their countries to attract tourists from all over the world.


Indeed, some literature and commentators have alluded to the bidding and hosting of the world cup or the Olympics for an example as one huge tourism project. 

A recent example is the Qatar World Cup in December of 2022. For some, it may just be a World Cup festival just to showcase football talents. For many, however, and especially for the host nation in particular, it is indeed one big cultural festival - an invitation to the world, aimed at drawing global attention to a country called Qatar with a population size equivalent to that of the city of Accra.

Others call it “sports washing”-that is using sports to gain international influence. Whatever, you call it, the Qatar World Cup was a big success irrespective of the initial challenges- a fact acknowledged by FIFA, the organising body.

Following that monumental achievement, Qatar has become a global player in the tourism sector. The country’s airline is among the most leading brands in the world today. 

Today, not many would view that country with the same lens as they did a decade ago.

Back home in Ghana, the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism has since 2018 hosted the Year of Return and its subsequent verticals, which commemorates 400 years since the transatlantic slave trade was abolished.

Ghana has indeed become the centre of attraction especially during the yuletide season by especially Africans in the diaspora. 

The potential of tourism in the economic activity of the country cannot be over-emphasised enough because of its linkages to the micro-economy.

It is with this in mind that Graphic Business and Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting is focused on how we can transition this project globally using the positives of the Qatar example for the benefit of our economy.

This country has a very rich history- from Gold Coast to Ghana. That story has been told but certainly not louder enough on the global stage. Therefore, the next phase of projecting Ghana is to go global with our story beyond the confines of the black of African community to every home in the world by projecting our very rich cultural heritage.

This will require some radical decisions. It means listening to the players and adopting policies that will bring the cost of doing business down. Ghana remains an attractive destination and so are many other countries positioning themselves to take advantage of the global tourism industry.

Speaking to some German tourists to Ghana for instance, they cite a major hindrance as the transportation cost. The cost of airfare to Africa in general is off-putting for many tourists. 

The example of the Middle East countries recognising that if they were to attract tourists to their countries there was the need to invest in the transportation services is one that can guide us. The Emirates and Qatar Airlines are today some of the most affordable airlines without compromising on quality of service. 

In doing this, these countries built an airline hub and international airports that will of necessity require that in most instances, travellers to major destinations will transit through these international airports.

Then there is the issue of hotel costs. It is undeniable that Ghana’s hotels are about some of the most expensive out there. For most tourists to Ghana, the cost of air travel and hotel room for a day for instance could give them the same experience to other destinations for a week.

Even for domestic tourists, the average worker is cut off from accessing all the tourist destinations dotted across the length and breadth of the country because of the sheer cost of travel and accommodation.

Therefore, if we aim to be part of the global tourism ecosystem, we must of necessity have to take a critical look at what policies we can undertake to bring the cost of doing business down.

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