The increasing number of tourists and the evolving profile of today’s traveler demand a host of new tourism offering and infrastructure projects. Ghana stands a great advantage of being the best tourism destination in Africa because of its unique slave forts and history, cultural diversity, natural environment and political stability among other things.
A wide spectrum of business opportunities arise out of Ghana’s long-term tourism plans.
1. Tourist Accommodation
a) Multi-hotel resorts; one each for the Volta Estuary; Accra and environs; Brenu beach in the Central Region; Cape Three Points area in the Western Region; Lake Bosumtwi in Ashanti, the Volta Lake Basin incorporating Dodi Island, Dwarf Island, Digya National Park, Melinli Peninsular, Amedzofe and Wli-falls in the Volta Region.
b) Single-hotel resorts at beach sites, botanic garden sites, other lake sites etc.
c) Mountain Resort.
Business Hotels of all classes
- Lodges and Inns; desirable locations include eco-tourism sites (eco-lodges in National parks), as well as other isolated tourism attraction sites and towns.
- Motels on major tourist routes.
- Hostels particularly on or near university campuses for dual use by tourists and campus students.
- Camping Sites for the trans-Saharan adventure tourists with Paga, Tamale, Kintampo Falls, Kumasi, Accra.
2. Motel and Highway Rest Stops
a) Small Scale Rest Stop: this is a simple basic road-side stop with facilities for parking; washrooms; basic refreshment, etc.
b) Medium Scale Rest Stop: Fairly elaborate with facilities for parking, washrooms, cafeteria, shop, fuel and auto servicing.
3. Tourist Information Shops
These independent shops are in high demand in major tourist centers particularly Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast/Elmina and border entry points.
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4. Tourist Transport Services
The under-listed services are essential and offers business opportunities to investors at major tourist locations:
This is highly inadequate; it may be operated by companies licensed by Ghana Tourist Board and registered to operate from specified bases namely hotels, airport and other transport terminals.
This is also highly inadequate but there is growing demand for it by both business and holiday visitors requiring quick visits to locations outside Accra.
The growing tourist traffic is not being matched by investments in the various categories of road transport vehicles especially tourist coaches, tourist buses, limousines, and cross-country vehicles for trekking and safaris.
The Volta Lake offers large range of business opportunities for the operation of various types of lake transportation for various leisure purposes such as cruise excursions or purely passenger service or for a more personalized recreation like fishing etc.
5. Tourist Travel Services
The growth of various types of tourism has created opportunities for investing in tourist handling services including:
Tour Guiding Services: These involve setting up a company which employs a pool of tour guides for operators, conference organizers etc.
Tour Handler Services: This is a small-scale operation whose services may be hired by an in-coming tour operator to handle the ground logistics required by in-coming package tourists.
Tour Operations: This is a larger form of a tour landing outfit. In this case, the operator is required to own buses, coaches, and must have own tour packages. It requires substantial investment in office accommodation, equipment, staff outlay, considerable experience in airline and tourist travel operation as well as a substantial insurance cover.
Travel Agencies: This sector is almost choked with a mushroom of outfits but an enterprising new entrant can make it due to the country’s effort to expand the tourism sector.
6. Tourism Financial Services
These services are in short supply and as the visitor traffic grows, there will be the need for more such services particularly:
a) Credit Card Agents or Discount Houses to offer credit to pay bills at areas which do not accept credit cards.
b) Foreign Exchange Bureau: Though these are many, they are not actually located near the various tourist sites and hence, there is room for more.
c) Tourism Rental Services: There is a growing demand for the rental of catering, camping, picnic accessories as well as mobile phone and toilets in Ghana, all in the service of travelers, event organizers etc.
7. Tourism Medical Services
There is growing demand for various types of health services for visitors notable among which are:
a) Tourism health insurance companies
b) Ambulance service for tourists including the concept of the flying doctor to service remote tourist sites.
8. Food and Beverage Services
Travellers or tourists love to eat or drink something (even if not hungry) whilst they tour. The following will be required to meet the growing demand:
a) Street Taverns, Cafes and Food Counters specializing in local snacks as well as foreign snacks.
b) Pubs: these are inadequate, such as the likes of Hard Rock Café in the US.
c) Night Clubs which offer table service with floor or live shows.
d) Fast Food Restaurants: these are becoming popular and as Ghana receives more American tourists, the demand for the likes of KFC and McDonalds become apparent.
e) Specialty Restaurants: especially African and Ghanaian cuisine restaurants which serve dinner are inadequate.
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Accra and all major cities as well as tourist centers literally go to bed at sundown for lack of nightlife activities. There is growing demand for international class:
- Night-clubs with live shows
- Amusement parks etc
10. Leisure & Sports
Though Ghana attracts large numbers of European, American, Asian and African tourists, they do not stay long because of lack of activity as Ghana’s tourist offer so far has been mainly sight-seeing featuring, festivals, monuments, game-viewing and nature walk. There is high demand from tourists for leisure and sporting activities to liven up their stay.
The following would greatly enhance tourists’ experiences:
a) World-class golf courses for international tournaments
b) Marinas on our Atlantic Coast, inland lakes and big rivers for sport fishing, yachting, sailing, surfing etc.
c) Theme Parks to relieve boredom.
d) Sports centers in cities offering a wide range of indoor/outdoor activities.
Surveys indicate that most visitors to Ghana return home with most of their pocket (spending) money because the country does not offer tempting shopping opportunities despite her wealth in products. The following are required:
- Souvenir shops
- Shopping arcades
- Shopping malls
- Duty-free shops.
12. Meeting Facilities
Multipurpose convention / conference / Exhibition Centres and Halls with shopping Arcade
Need for training centers, a greater use of e-learning channels and other more innovative and flexible ways of providing education and skills development in the Industry
Resources and Facilities
Ghana is keen to promote non-mass tourism, focusing on sustainable tourism. Some areas for consideration are:
a) Culture tourism – festivals, events, rural tourism
b) Heritage tourism with focus on the slave route
c) Recreational tourism – beaches, water sports, theme parks and golf
d) Adventure tourism – rainforest eco-tourism, game parks, white-water rafting, cruise line etc.
e) Events tourism with focus on conferences, Meetings
Ghana has numerous game and wildlife parks including the Mole National Park located in the Northern Region. It offers visitors the unique experience of “foot (trekking) safaris”. The Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural habitat for many species of wildlife, as well as for a number of migratory birds, located 16kms west of Kumasi.
Other wildlife reserves are the Shai Hills Game Reserve, Digya National Park, Kogyae District Nature Reserve Bui National Park and the Ankasa Game Reserve and Nini Suhien National Park.
There are numerous colourful traditional festivals and durbars. One such festival is the Dipo (Puberty Rites) by the Krobos. Aboakyir (Deer hunting) is by the people of Winneba. Homowo (Harvest/Thanksgiving) is a festival of “over coming hunger” by the Gas. Damba is celebrated originally to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammed but also has a traditional character; this is celebrated in the north of Ghana.
Hogbetsotso is by the Anlos tribe and signifies their migration into Ghana. The Adae (Festival of Purifying of the Ashantis’ ancestral stools) is an equally great festival with much pomp and pageantry.
Ghana has strong cultural and historic links with both the USA and Europe. To meet the needs of these markets, the country has developed targeted programs and events some of which include:
• The Emancipation Day is an annual celebration of the freedom gained by Africans at home and abroad, after 400 years of slavery. The celebration which begins in the last week of July and climaxing on August 1st is the anniversary of the declaration of the emancipation of slaves.
It is during this time of year when Ghana consolidates to commemorate and atone for the many lives lost to the African holocaust. Ghana’s celebration of the event, the first on the African continent which began in 1998, is aimed at consistently developing a unique sense of unity, co-operation and understanding amongst Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora.
• The Unique Culture heritage (festivals, music and dance, unique art and folklore) and rich historical heritage (world heritage monuments, Pan Africanism, Etc.,).There is a renewed interest in traditional festivals and events.
• The Hang and Paragliding Festival held at Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana during the Easter Holidays. In 2007, the festival gained the participation of 26 international gliders, attracting 7000 people. The year 2017 saw the resuscitation of the event which equally attracted a huge number of international gliders.
• A Regatta is organized in Elmina, Central Region for fisher folk, creating an opportunity to develop domestic tourism
• The older parts of Accra will be redeveloped and beautified under the Old Accra 2015 strategy.
• Chale wote festival. The Chale Wote Festival is an exciting annual event which features international artists and over 200 local based artists who portray how life should be in Ghana and the world through art. The festival is celebrated in August and attracts many tourists from other parts of the world.
All these resources present a vast spectrum of business opportunities in the tourism sector in Ghana.