A trip to Ghana’s capital, Accra, might not seem as glamorous as a trip to London or Paris, but it’s not for lack of trying.
The country’s tourist economy is one of the world’s largest, with more than 80 million visitors a year, more than any other country in Africa.
Accra hosts many of the country’s best-known festivals and festivals, and the capital itself has become one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.
“People come here because they want to experience Ghana, they want a good quality of life,” says Dr Daniela Runde, a medical doctor and head of the Ghana Tourism and Tourism Development Agency.
“It’s a very popular place for tourists.”
While there are many other African countries that offer similar attractions, Ghana is a small island nation with a population of just over one million people.
But tourism has exploded in recent years, and its booming economy has brought a surge of tourists to Ghana, where more than 5 million people visit each year.
The capital Accra has become a major hub for tourism, with over 2 million visitors in 2014, according to the Ghana Institute for Tourism Development (GITH).
The number of visitors from Ghana has tripled over the last decade, to more than 10 million people last year.
“The number of Ghanaians visiting other countries has increased in the last few years, as Ghana has become more known as a destination for tourism,” says Mr Rundes.
“So, tourists are attracted to the capital and we have seen a rise in tourism in the past five years.”
But while the capital has become popular for tourists, many Ghanaians are still choosing to travel abroad.
“A lot of people come here just to relax and they don’t really know where to go, so I think it’s more about the country,” says Rundi.
“But also, the fact that you have this beautiful city, you can’t afford to miss it.”
So far, the Ghana government has made efforts to cater for those who want to spend a lot of money, but the country is also keen to promote tourism as a way of bringing people together.
Last year, Ghana’s government announced a $15 billion investment plan to help build up its tourism industry.
But, tourism experts say the country needs to focus more on developing the countrys tourism sector.
“We need to make sure that tourism is a good business and a good tourism can help Ghana to prosper,” says Ms Rundae.
“You need to create jobs, and tourism is the way to do that.”
But how do Ghana’s tourism operators plan to compete with tourists coming from Europe?
“We’re all talking about the same thing: we want to grow the tourism industry, so it can be the next big thing,” says Mabubele.
“That’s why we need to get into it.
We need to develop the tourism sector so it becomes more of a regional and international destination.”
The Ghana Tourism Development Authority is also working on a tourism plan for South Africa, but hopes that this will not be a one-off effort.
“Our hope is that we will be able to attract tourists from the region, and bring tourism to South Africa,” says Sumba Toh.
“As a tourism development agency, we will develop the infrastructure so that people can come here, stay and then go to a hotel, so that we can offer them a better quality of travel experience.”
Ghana’s Tourism and Travel Development Agency is also helping to develop a tourism management plan, with a focus on ensuring the best-quality tourism experience for Ghanaian travellers.
But, while the Ghanaian government is working on tourism development, the country still has work to do. “
One of the first things we are doing is to develop training programmes for tourism managers and tourism administrators so that they can better prepare their employees to manage tourism in their businesses.”
But, while the Ghanaian government is working on tourism development, the country still has work to do.
“To be a tourism leader, Ghana has to work to promote and create the tourism infrastructure that we have already created,” says Mrs Rundea.
“If we don’t create the infrastructure, then we are going to face challenges that we cannot ignore.”
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