By: Nyamador Paul (@paulkplorla)
What do we really have to show for the arts and tourism sector? Why can’t we find investments for the sector? These were questions that Media, Brands, Tourism and Culture Expert, Kwasi Kyei Darkawh (KKD) asked when he appeared on the ‘Breakfast Show’ on GTV today, August 10, 2022 to discuss news making the headlines.
His questions follow a publication in the Daily Graphic that reads “Lack of Funds stalls tourism projects, Aburi Gardens, Yaa Asantewa Centres Facelift in Limbo”.
Speaking to the issue, Mr Kwasi Darkwad stated, “People will choose to invest in a road that can be tolled for returns than investing in a tourist site because the tourist site will not yield the desired returns because the cost of visiting and enjoying a tourist site in Ghana is too expensive hence there is low patronage.”
According to him, there are several factors that contribute to the expensive nature of the industry.
“We don’t have a national airline that will bring people into the country at cheaper rates, our hotels are using imported inputs to prepare their meals, they are importing bedsheets, even the rice that is used for the ‘waakye and omotuo’ in your local restaurant in Kumasi is imported. So, if nearly every input in the sector is imported, investing in that area doesn’t give the you your returns because it will be too expensive to patronize” he said.
Speaking on the exorbitant hotel rates in Ghana, he said “it is cheaper to take my entire family on a holiday in Ibiza than to even give them a holiday here in Accra. Our hotel rates are a joke, because if you look at the rates we are paying here, I can get better hotels in New York City or even LA for lower prices than here in Ghana.”
“These days people prefer to go and lodge with their friends when they travel because they cannot afford the outrageous hotel prices that exist in this country” he added.
He asked what the 1% tourism levy that is charged on hotel bookings and the purchases of other goods and services is being used for and called for accountability for the collection and usage of the tourism levy.
In proffering a solution to the problems bedeviling the tourism sector, he called for the formation of a committee whose membership will consist of people who are not in government positions but are in the tourism business full time to dialogue on issues bothering the sector in order to find practical and lasting solutions to them.