A professor of Tourism at the Cape Coast Technical University, Professor Samuel Benjamin Owusu-Mintah

A tourism lecturer at the Cape Coast Technical University, Prof Samuel Benjamin Owusu-Mintah, says the country could grow in leaps and bounds if it deals with issues of funding, inaccessibility of tourism sites, and poor services at some of its tourist attractions.

The expert says there is no gain in saying that the country has enormous potentials in the tourism sector when the potentials are being underutilised.

Speaking at his inaugural lecture on the post-Covid-19 impact of tourism and the prospects in Africa, at the Cape Coast Technical University, Prof. Owusu-Mintah indicated, Ghana stands a huge chance of making it big using tourism as a viable tool.

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, he indicated, the tourism industry generated about 10% of the Gross Domestic Product and had shown some resilience in the employment sector in Africa.

In Ghana, though the tourism industry has been the 4th highest foreign exchange earner after minerals, timber and cocoa, the country earned about 2.655 million in receipt of international tourism arrivals in 2018, according to the Ghana Tourism Authority.

According to Professor Samuel Benjamin Owusu-Mintah, the tourism sector is bedeviled with numerous problems such as lack of funds for attracting development, inaccessibility to some sites and the existence of poor services at the tourism attractions and facilities.

He maintains if the country injected funds into the sector and dealt with other challenges, the country could comfortably export tourism and make it big.

He wants more attention to be paid to Ghana’s tourism sector to enable the sector attract the needed investments and contribute massively to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.

“We could do far better with the kind of potentials we have. We need to make it count. The sector needs to be heavily funded and other rough edges ironed out to make it a viable tool for our development,” he stated.

Prof. Mintah says this will depend, to a greater extent, a degree of quality service delivery at the attractions and facilities as a result of improved tourism education.

Harnessing the potentials of tourism in Africa as a development tool is therefore required vocation and skills training of service providers for the pro0vsion of quality tourism services at the nation’s tourism facilities.

He stated: “This calls for higher investments in education and vocational training for tourism service providers to render quality tourism services to their patrons and tourists.

As an important export product, he intimates, tourism is also known to grow and increase export revenues, ‘the golden eggs which are controlled externally.’

For him, to fully implement the tourism policy of Ghana, the various Metropolitan, Municipal District Assemblies (MMDAs) should be encouraged to open district offices in the various assemblies to augment the activities of the Regional offices of the Ghana Tourism Authority to ensure efficient and effective supervision of tourism facilities across the country.

Prof. Owusu-Mintah also made the call for tourism studies and activities to be inculcated in the curriculum to enable children to understand the country’s tourism sector and its potentials