Ghana has missed out on the top 10 African countries to visit for tourism in 2018 according to the World Atlas.
Though Ghana has virtually all the attractions that countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and South Africa have, it did not meet its 1.5 million targets to make the list.
Poor infrastructure, statistics and a general lack of investment in the sector were part of a 15 -year development plan put together 6 years ago to help push the numbers but has not been implemented since.
Morocco is at number one with 12.3 million visitors in a year. The country is the most politically stable in North Africa with beaches, rich culture and history.
Ghana, on the other hand, is arguably the most stable in West Africa with a coastline which stretches 560 kilometres.
Morocco and Ghana both have various sites listed under the UNESCO world heritage sites.
Ghana’s challenges have been plainly listed in the 2013-2027 tourism plan. A general lack of proper documentation of the number of people visiting the country from various sources, unsanitary conditions at the various sites.
The poor quality of professionals in the sector and the fact that it is expensive travelling to Ghana and to the destinations.
Dubai for 2018 saw over 20 million people travel to the country and one of the things the country did was to cut out visa requirement for two countries they noticed brought in the numbers by giving visa on arrival.
It also saw its numbers shoot up from India because it used India’s top actor Shah Rukh Khan in an advert promoting Dubai.
From the oil-rich country, Ghana could learn how oil money has been used to develop the tourism sector. Maybe some of the heritage funds could go there.
South Africa was second in the ranking, what it had was not different from Ghana, a wildlife safari, the mole game reserve is a hot spot for Ghana but roads leading there are simply bad, not making it attractive.
Ghana’s rich history of slavery is expected to be harnessed this year as the country celebrates 400 years of slavery. The year has been declared in the 2019 budget as the year of return.
As part of it, a national carrier was expected to be in place to carry visitors in September but at the current rate of discussion with Ethiopian airlines it does not look like the deadline will be met.
Rank Country International tourist arrivals (2018)
1 Morocco 12.3 million
2 South Africa 9.5 million
3 Tunisia 6.2 million
4 Algeria 2.7 million
5 Mozambique 1.8 million
6 Zimbabwe 1.8 million
7 Kenya 1.4 million
8 Uganda 1.2 million
9 Namibia 1.1 million
10 Senegal 1.0 million