Need to promote tourism sites in the country
One advantage that many countries in Africa and elsewhere have is the promotion of tourism sites that will help to bring in the needed revenue at both the domestic and international levels.
Here in Ghana, the country is blessed with many tourism sites that ought to be preserved and promoted for that purpose. Such tourism sites will help to increase the knowledge of Ghanaians and help them to know more about their country. In addition, foreigners will also be able to come into the country to learn more about these sites and thereby contribute to the generation of revenue for the nation.
ADVANTAGES OF TOURIST SITES
When the local people visit tourist sites, they bring in revenue just like foreigners and this helps to boost the local economy of the area concerned. If for nothing at all, food will be cooked and sold to these visitors. This means that employment will be generated for those who cook the food and so more money that comes in the way of revenue can be used to improve conditions in the local area. It, therefore, means that there will be much improvement in the local economy.
The same advantages will be realised when we think of foreign travels and visits.
What this means is that roads to such areas would have to be improved to make tourism, whether domestic or international, very attractive to all visitors to the area.
It is not only roads that will have to be developed but various forms of housing units in such areas to serve as accommodation units for would-be visitors.
These visitors are people who would have to be treated well to make them comfortable. If they are not made to feel comfortable, they will not be attracted to come back and very soon, people will stop visiting such areas.
The development of tourist sites cannot be done in a day. It will have to be done gradually and in a systematic manner so as to be able to attract more visitors into such areas. If this is done, the tourism sector will soon become the largest income earner for the country.
The potential is there so we need to plan well and execute our tourism intentions so as to make that sector the most important as far as revenue generation is concerned. This can be done so as a people, we need to put our acts together and begin the journey today so that the end result will be achieved with time.
When it comes to tourist sites, they exist in two main forms. These are naturally endowed sites and man-made sites.
The naturally endowed sites include beautiful rivers, unique mountains, animals like monkeys and birds that are not common to find in the world. Other naturally endowed sites may also contain uniquely attractive fountains of water and many other scenes that beat the imaginations of people. Such naturally endowed sites can be found in all the 16 regions of the country and this calls for a special purpose investment to preserve and upgrade them together with certain facilities like roads and accommodation as well as restaurants that will make the place attractive to everybody.
We need to develop a special project for this purpose and if it will mean going for international assistance, we will have to do it and earn more money for the country. What is the point in keeping national habitats such as special birds and animals in the country without making them known to would-be visitors whose desire would be to visit and explore such places to satisfy their curiosity, mental interest and also welfare as a people in the country.
We need a special project, as has been pointed out, to bring this about. Such a project can be possible so we need to work towards it within specified and achievable timelines.
When we come to man-made tourist sites, we also have many of them in various parts of the country especially along the coast of Ghana. We have heard of forts and castles built by colonial masters who visited the coastal regions of Ghana and built them for their own security purposes and also use such buildings to keep and transport slaves from the Gold Coast to other parts of the world.
FORTS AND CASTLES
A good example here is the Fort Santo Antonio at Axim in the Western Region. This fort was properly built and designed by the colonial people who used it for trade in humans and other goods. This together with other sites serves as images of the slave master and the slave trade but can be reversed and modified to serve a good purpose for the people of Ghana today.
Other forts and castles still exist and all of them will have to be utilised to generate wealth for the country, having existed for over 400 and 500 years. Examples are Elmina Castle, Cape Coast Castle and the Christiansborg Castle which became known as the Osu Castle and was used as seat of government by various governments until recently.
The use of castles for tourist sites will mean developing them and roads to attract tourists. One good thing that can come out of this is that apart from income generation, they will help in the education of people in the local level as well as foreigners who will come to visit such places. An interesting point to note about the communities in which these forts and castles are located is that most of the people do not know much about them and the purposes they were used for.
EDUCATION OF PEOPLE
A gradual development and preservation of such areas is, therefore, very necessary for the education of the local people of the communities as well as foreigners who visit those places.
As has been pointed out already, such areas stand the chance of boosting up the local economy to promote domestic trade and business transactions all over such areas.
Thus, when it comes to man-made sites such as forts and castles or naturally endowed tourist sites such as beautiful sites, animals and birds, what we need to do is to put in as much investment as possible to be able to preserve them and make them attractive for sale to people whether Ghanaians or foreigners. This is how both domestic or international tourism can be promoted in this country.
However, to be able to succeed in this dream, the investment cannot be avoided in terms of roads, bridges, healthcare, housing, flyovers where necessary, etc. This is how the country, Ghana, can be made to move forward in anticipation of our national aspirations.
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By Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako