Ghana Tourism is a Joke

There is a growing phenomenon in our country that is becoming a canker and needs to be curbed and this is the pervading sense of reaping where we did not sow. The very roots of corruption stem out of this canker and it’s ruining our society.

It has become part of our moral fabric that when workers go to work they loot as much as they can from the employer because they have no idea when they are going to be laid off or in this current situation when the company is going to go bust.

However we forget that it is our efforts in making the company work and this commitment that will ensure that our daily routine doesn’t become bland and monotonous since we’d be finding new ways of keeping the company going and at the same time helping ourselves develop not only physically but mentally.

You’re wondering what’s on my mind and where I’m going with this. I’ll soon get to it.

In the latest budget that was read in Parliament, tourism was the third largest foreign exchange earner in this country and I keep reminding people that that is even in its raw state. Only a few tourist destinations have been developed in this country and mostly in the south centred around the slave trade hence the forts and castles mostly.

Even in this regard some of the infrastructure around the tourist sites are shambolic and nothing to write home about. The roads to this centres are bad and there are no good hospitality services and other support industries to make these places attractive. Let me not even try giving a list. We all know a few places. 

Recently I was in Salaga slave market, one of the most prominent trade centres during the TransAtlantic slave trade and there was almost nothing to show for it.  For a son of the soil steeped in the history of Africa I was almost ashamed. The only relic of the market is a replanted baobab tree that bears a broken down sign leaning on it that reads Salaga Slave Market. A few meters away is an old well another relic and that’s just about it.

As if by twist of humor, the recent street naming have names of some of the slave raiders as street names.
Babatu Street is the route to the old town which was the very same path the slaves were taken along enroute to the coast. Some irony!

Guess it was lost on those who named the street.

When you get there only one man knows the history of the place and they have to find him for you wherever he is only for him to come tell you what you already know about the slavery of the time and take you to an almost empty makeshift museum with just a handful of items: slavemaster muskets 2, both slave and master gourds for drinking, calabashes used for fetching water and food, Long chain for ankles, pointed metal bar supposedly used to carve feeding troughs in the rock, a bow and an empty arrow quaver.

That’s it!

There is another emerging trend with our tour sites that if not curbed could lead to losing the few curious people who brave the odds and ends  to see the tourist sites and this has to do with the local people especially the youth seeking to exploit the tourists.
In the areas where some of these tourist centres are located the youth find it prudent to in some ways extort money from visitors to the sites. From junior high school dropouts trying to sell customized shells and wrist bands at the coastal areas, little children asking for pencils and pens at lake Bosomtwe, to the young men on motorbikes who rush over to the car to welcome you even before you park at Larabanga or at Paga, there is a common denominator. This is that they see the visitors in their community as an opportunity to make a few coins.

Hitherto these people only harassed foreign visitors but now they don’t even care if the people on the visit are even local. The mentality I’m sure is that if you can afford to drive all the way from wherever you came from and brave the bad roads then you sure could spare some change.
Recently at Larabanga, me and some friends from Wa were welcomed heartily by two  youth who arrived on  motorbikes and offered to escort us to see the mosque but all the hearty welcome almost changed to hostility when they realized we weren’t interested to do the whole tour guide thing with the history of the mosque etc. We actually and literally had to bolt out of there when somebody made a comment that for a mere 2 cedis we were facing this aggressive behavior. 

This sort of aggression to make make money off or fleece the few tourists who visit these sights, albeit the bad roads and lack of proper infrastructure, will make people lose interest in tourism altogether in the country.

Tourism in Ghana is a joke and yet it keeps earning more money for the country. Imagine if we could harness the tourism potential in Ghana and not only develop the infrastructure but also make policy that promote tourism and do national marketing as we see other nations do in the international media such as CNN, NBC, etc. We have the resources and yet we just revel in mediocrity and Leave it very raw and not really tapped.

Maybe one day, maybe not but it depends on the individual to have to see the potential and develop a mindset for seeing Ghana develop as a nation in whatever way (s)he can help.


Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!!!


One Response to “Ghana Tourism is a Joke”

  1. […] recently wrote an article on the state of our tourism sitessites in the northern parts of Ghana and barely a month after, as if by coincidence, I hear the minister […]

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