It said the cost of the various packages had been a challenge to domestic tourism but following engagements, the private sector had agreed to adjust the price of packages to make them affordable for Ghanaians to visit these tourist attractions.
Mr Kofi Atta Kakra Kusi, the Deputy Head of Corporate Affairs, GTA in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the introduction of the domestic tourism drive had been the game-changer for the industry since the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said the regional tourism campaign also created an industry-wide tourism wholesale package for on-selling by operators.
He said even though the campaign so far had yielded positive results, it was important to still introduce more packages at affordable prices to continue to whip up the interest of locals to patronize these tourist attractions.
“In 2019, we had about 600,000 domestic tourism revellers and in 2020 it dropped to 200,000 because of COVID. In 2021, 2022,
because of the vaccination processes rolled out across the country and several campaigns, including the drive, that was introduced by the GTA, the number rose to an appreciable level almost close to that of 2019.”
Mr Kusi said as part of destination Ghana 40 million dollars was also allocated to refurbish some of the main tourist sites and attractions across the country to make them attractive to both locals and foreigners.
“Tourist sites and attractions regulation, LI 2393 passed in 2019, mandates the government to upgrade the various tourist sites and attractions across the country. Hither to these sites and attractions were in the hands of the District Assemblies, Chiefs and people of the areas, but now the GTA has come in and is fashioning out ways and means of coming together to see how to project these sites and attractions.”
According to Mr Kusi, “we are doing this because destination Ghana has come to stay, and Ghana is open and ready to receive tourists, diasporans and people of African descent as part of ‘Beyond the Return’. We are also looking at celebrating and branding Ghana in several ways.”
He said there had been an increase in tourism receipt in general and so the Authority was working very hard to boost domestic tourism in the coming years and developing the sites and attractions to the desired standard was key.
Madam Alisa Osei-Asamoah, President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), said the response to the domestic tourism drive since its inception had been positive.
She attributed the growth to the private sector’s introduction of affordable packages for the consumption of the Ghanaian public.
“We are on the ground and have received lots of bookings to sites and attractions as compared to previous years. Initially, Ghanaians complained about the cost of packages to various sites and attractions, but now we have introduced new and affordable packages so most people have shown interest and are patronizing on higher levels.”
Madam Alisa also indicated that domestic tourism had improved drastically because initially, Ghanaians thought that holidays were basically moving out of the shores of Ghana but now, they have come to the realization through this drive that such holiday experiences could be had in Ghana.
“It is important for Ghanaians to know their country, so we are also encouraging Ghanaians to be involved in the destination Ghana drive in order to know more about their country.”
The TOUGHA President said international tourism was currently generating a lot for the Ghanaian economy because they offer 100 per cent all-inclusive packages, but it does not prevent Ghana from focusing on domestic tourism.
“Domestic tourism is supporting our international tourism and serves as an alternative for us. Money coming from there also helps us at least to break even.”
On the state of tourist sites and attractions and their impact on domestic tourism, she said the Union was touring these sites and attractions to ascertain and know more about the products (sites and attractions) they were selling.
“We are through these tours compiling a report to help the government in its process to refurbish these sites and attractions to meet international standards.”
Madam Osei-Asamoah called on corporate bodies to support the Union in realizing its goals and appealed to them to collaborate with the Union to help organise their tours.