Signage, accessible roads with few tourist sites — Survey

Lack of directional signs to tourist sites and inaccessible roads were cited as challenges affecting the promotion of 25 tourist sites identified in 10 regions.

The tourist spots, located in the Greater Accra, Central, West, East, Volta, Ashanti, North, Upper West, Upper East and Bono regions East, also lack adequate memorabilia to market them.

This was included in the findings of a survey of tourist and citizen satisfaction with tourist sites.

The study, which lasted 12 weeks, was commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as part of its Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP).

The government, through the ministry, is implementing the World Bank-funded GTDP worth $40 million to improve tourism performance in targeted destinations across the country.

The project is implemented through four components: strengthening the enabling environment for tourism, which includes tourism skills development, branding and marketing; develop tourist sites and destinations; tourism business support and project management, and institutional strengthening.

Some of the sites identified for the survey include Elmina and Cape Coast Castles and Kakum National Park in the Central Region; Shai Hills Resource and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in the Greater Accra Region; and Mole National Park in the Northern Region.

The survey aimed to explore residents’ satisfaction with GTDP’s contribution to public good such as community development, improving environmental and socio-economic conditions in communities.

It also explored residents’ perspectives on the sustainability of GTDP interventions and analyzed the demographics of tourists in the targeted destinations.

Validation workshop

At a national survey validation workshop in Accra today, GTDP Managing Director Kwadwo Odame Antwi, who presented the survey results, said that overall 85% of residents located in the 25 sites expressed satisfaction with the development efforts of the sector ministry.

Knowledge of tour guides and residents’ friendliness to tourists were rated as good by respondents, but signs indicating tourist sites, inaccessible roads and non-availability of souvenirs were rated as ‘poor’.

Recommendations

The investigation recommended that appropriate facilities be improved at sites and that necessary steps be taken to ensure stalled projects are completed without further delay.

Mr. Antwi said that these projects should also involve community members, especially when it comes to providing work for young people.

The CEO said tourist destinations should introduce regular management skills training at venues.

Aggressive marketing strategies, he noted, were also needed to direct tourist traffic to destination sites.

He explained that residents believe that tourist sites completed under GTDP interventions promote improved environmental conditions and create economic development opportunities for locals.

Awareness of the interventions, he said, was described as low, especially at the start-up and construction stages, but the level of awareness was high at the commissioning stages.

Analysis

Mr. Antwi said that tourists rated hospitality facilities and paid services as high, but the availability of facilities for children in all tourist destinations visited was low.

The survey indicated that the likelihood of tourists revisiting tourist destinations constituted 61%.

He said more festive activities should be introduced and internal migration within communities should be encouraged.

Mr. Antwi said the interventions should be sustainable as community residents expected the interventions to create jobs and increase community income.

Mr Antwi said the quality of service at tourist sites was high, while the quality of restaurant service and the standard of toilets were low.

The survey indicated that 65% of domestic visitors were satisfied with the tourist sites, compared to 82% of international visitors who were satisfied with the sites.