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Signage, accessible roads low in tourists sites — Survey

BY: Vincent Amenuveve & Jemima Okang Addae

The absence of directional signs to tourist sites and inaccessible roads have been cited among challenges affecting the promotion of 25 sites identified in 10 regions.

The tourist sites which are located in the Greater Accra, Central, Western, Eastern, Volta, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West, Upper East and Bono East regions also do not have adequate souvenirs to market them.

This was contained in findings of a survey on tourist and citizen satisfaction of tourist sites.

The study, which spanned 12 weeks, was commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC) under its Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP).

The government, through the MoTAC, is implementing the World Bank-funded GTDP at a cost of $40 million to improve tourism performance in targeted destinations in the country.

Project

The project is being implemented under four components: Strengthening tourism enabling environment’, which includes tourism skills development, branding and marketing.

The other components are ‘developing tourism sites and destinations’, ‘tourism enterprise support’ and ‘project management and institutional strengthening’.

Some of the sites identified for the survey included the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles and the Kakum National Park in the Central Region. Others included the Shai Hills Resort, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in the Greater Accra Region and the Mole National Park in the Northern Region.

The survey was to explore residents' satisfaction with regard to the GTDP's contribution to the public good such as community development, improvement in environmental and socio-economic conditions in the communities.

It also explored residents' perspectives on the sustainability of the GTDP interventions and analysis of the demographic characteristics of tourists in targeted destinations.

Validation workshop

At a National Validation workshop on the Survey in Accra recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), Kwadwo Odame Antwi, who presented findings of the survey, indicated that overall, 85 per cent of residents located in the 25 sites visited said they were satisfied with the development efforts by the sector ministry under its GTDP intervention to improve on the sites.

Knowledge of tour guides and friendliness of residents to tourists was described by respondents as good.

However, signages to give directions to tourist sites, inaccessible roads and availability of souvenirs were rated as “low”.

Recommendations

The survey recommended that proper facilities should be improved at the sites and the necessary steps should be taken to ensure stalled projects were completed without any further delay.

Mr Antwi said those projects should also involve community members especially regarding the provision of work for the youth.

The CEO said tourist destinations would have to introduce regular skills training for management at the sites.

Aggressive marketing strategies, he noted, were also needed to direct tourist traffic to destination sites.

He explained that residents believed completed tourism sites under GTDP interventions would foster improvement in environmental conditions and create opportunities for economic development for the locals.

Awareness of the interventions, he said, were described as low especially at the inception and construction stages but the awareness level was high at the inauguration stages.

Analysis

He stated that tourists rated reception facilities and paid services high but availability of facilities for children at all tourist destinations visited was rated low.

The survey indicated that the likelihood of tourists revisiting tourist destinations constituted 61 per cent.

Mr Antwi said the result of the citizens satisfaction survey on economic gains from tourism development improved the community image and created employment and business for the locals.

He noted that on environmental and social gains from tourism development, improvement on waste management at sites should be implemented.

He explained that more festive activities should be introduced and internal migration into communities should be encouraged.

The CEO stated that interventions should be viable as community residents were expectant that the interventions would provide jobs and increase revenue in the community.

He stressed that the sustainability of project interventions should involve the community and ensure that the people were content with it and also vcontinued to monitor the sites.

On tourist satisfaction survey analysis, Mr Antwi said the quality of service at tourist sites were high while the quality of restaurant service and standard of washrooms were low.

The survey indicated that 65 per cent of domestic visitors were satisfied with the tourist sites as compared to the 82 per cent of international visitors who were satisfied with the sites.

Furthermore, the average expenditure on accommodation by all tourists within a destination amounted to GH¢393.18.

Domestic tourists spent an average of GH¢369.61 while international tourists spent an average of GH¢410.79, according to the survey.

Attracting tourists

The Technical Advisor to the GTDP, Professor Gabriel Eshun, said the aim of stakeholders in the tourism sector was to increase tourism performance across targeted destinations.

That, he said, could be achieved when they got to understand what communities thought about the interventions put in place.

“Anytime you come in contact with service, you are either satisfied or dissatisfied. When you are satisfied, it means it is likely you would go back. It cost 15 times more to attract new customers,” he said.

The Team Lead, Project Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Alice Opoku Kontoh, said the survey was of great interest and relevance to key industry players, policy makers and direct beneficiaries of the project who were mainly citizens and tourists.