Claire Staal, Country Manager of Jovago Ghana, says limited infrastructure, especially good access route to tourist sites in the country, is a major challenge to the hospitality industry.

She called for more investment into the development of infrastructure for the sector and the need to promote tourism, in the capital and in other regions.

“it’s not only about promoting Accra, but promoting all the regions so that people get to know more about the locations that exist in Ghana, the events and activities you can do in the different regions and that way, more people will start travelling; Ghanaians as well as internationals,” she stated.

Mr Bennet Otoo, Public Relations Manager of Jovago, who gave highlights of the report, said Ghana hospitality sector, with its numerous tourist attractions, has enormous potential to spur the economic development of the country.

He noted that tourism’s contribution to Ghana’s revenue generation has increased by 3.5 per cent over the last few years and represented 7.8 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2014.

Tourism was also the fourth highest foreign exchange earner in 2015, after gold, cocoa and oil.

The report also shows that Koforidua, Kumasi Takoradi and Cape Coast were top destination searched. Accra had 86 per cent of the destination searches.

The travel and tourism sector contributed GH₵ 10.5 billion to GDP and generated 292,000 direct jobs; 2.6 per cent of total employments for 2015.

Mr Otoo said the report also noted that most tourists (77per cent) prefer to pay for their hotels when they arrive at the destination instead using E-commerce platforms to pay online prior to arrival (23 per cent).

He urged players in the hospitality industry to take advantage of the increasing use of E-commerce, as it would aid the development of the sector.

He and other challenges that the report found in the industry included a limited understanding of the hospitality industry.

He said most people saw the industry as including only hotels and tourist sites whereas the sector cover other layers such as car rentals, restaurants and others.

Another challenge was the lack of professionalism in some hotels but added that the advent of international hotel brands like the Movenpick and Kempinsky had challenged other brands to improve on professionalism in order to better compete.

Mr Collins Ackwerh, Principal Quality Assurance Officer at the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) said the Authority is working to address the challenges in the industry and had introduced some measures such as the introduction of the tourism development levy which would help to increase investments into the sector.

He added that the Authority is also in talks with the Ministry of Roads and Transport to prioritise the construction of roads that lead to tourist destinations, adding that work on the road to the Kakum National Park would soon begin.

“Government also knows the benefits of tourism for the…country and is trying its best to develop the roads and infrastructure at the various tourist sites and we, on our part,  are also seeking to use the Tourism Development Fund to develop the various attractions themselves to very high standard tourist attractions,” he stated.

Credit: GNA