“In Ghana, Tourism Development has been hindered by negative attitudes towards developing tourism in the country” – Tourism Expert
ACCRA, Ghana – Founder of Tourism Safety & Security Initiative (TOSS) believes there are so many things Ghanaians can do in the country as far as tourism is concerned. He is proposing that “if we can trace the line down to Central region…down to Cape Coast, and once in a year, organize a festival tracing this line down to Nkonso…in a one-week celebration, we could celebrate it in festival, and climax it in PANAFEST…it would create a lot of tourists into the country.”
Speaking to “Africa in Focus” show host, E.K.Bensah Jr, in the first programme on “Afri-Tourism” for the year, he explained that “tourism is a unique industry and if Ghana is able to develop this concept, it would [help serve as] an economic hub for the country.” They want to “re-direct the psyche of tourism” in Ghanaians, he adds. He is calling on the support of the private sector to support the organisation and re-orient Ghanaians to the importance of tourism.
Although tourism is a commonsensical revenue-earner for Ghana, it emerged from the conversation that Ghanaians have yet to build either the enabling environment or the infrastructure for a thriving tourism industry.
A retired insurance man of the State Insurance Corporation, Kwame Twum-Ampofo founded TOSS in a bid to link the insurance sector with tourism. The whole idea was to find a way of using insurance to enable the tourism sector be more efficient. He says after the collapse of the Bonsu Bridge, a delegation of TOSS went to visit the site two weeks later. They asked management of Bonsu whether the place had been insured to which they answered “the organisation is in process of being insured.”
Asked why it took so long to re-launch TOSS after being dormant for a couple of years, he explained though they had challenges from the beginning, “interests in the objectives and activities of the organisation was rekindled as a result of increasing accidents in tourism industry on the domestic front, especially the 1 July, 2015 accident at Bonsu arboretum in the Eastern region involving the canopy walkway, which resulted in injuries of tourists.”
Pressed to explain why one must pay greater attention to safety and security in the industry, he explained how the tourist industry had become a soft target for terrorists all over the world, and why, therefore, an importance to safety and security was critical. In TOSS’s view, a response to this is what they call “Tourism Police”. Twum-Ampofo explained that, the Ghana Police Service would, like Thailand and Egypt, have a tourism unit. He explained that visibility, just like general police visibility, would be an important element. He continued “we want police to be visible in all tourist centres.”
As far as the conference on AU day—25 May— is concerned, Twum-Ampofo said there will be a trade fair and a seminar. It will be on awareness, safety and security. It is geared to sensitize the public on tourism. There are six thematic areas – Tourism Safety and Security Awareness; Tourism Police; Safety in Public Transport; Health and Safety Awareness; Insurance Banking; and Cultural Heritage. The main focus will be on Tourism Police.
The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h00 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from www.africainfocusradioshow.org . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus