I was sat with my mates a couple of days ago planning how to spend the summer leave. We all agreed we had to go off on a really mad and crazy one somewhere. The kind your only recollection of is nowhere to be found in your head but on a memory card inside your camera, Hang Over 2 style! Well without the lady boy bit but definitely with the monkey and the monk! That we all agreed on but we could not quite agree on where to go.
Many suggestions have been thrown up: Magaluf, Tenerife, Ayia Napa, Zante,Thailand and someone even suggested India and Egypt! Egypt?
Do you not listen to the news?
So I half-jokingly tossed Ghana into the mix, but everyone laughed it off.
That really got me thinking, how is it that Ghana is never viewed as a holiday destination?
To be honest I do not think India has much to offer in terms of holidaying as compared to Ghana. Ghana has it all- great natural attractions, great party people, great night life! So I have been chewing over this for sometime now and this is what I think.
First thing is that Ghana has never been advertised as a holiday destination- neither by the surprisingly many travel & tour operators in Ghana nor the government. Contrary to the believe of many Ghanaians, our beloved country is not as well known, especially amongst ordinary party loving holiday makers around the world.
The only time Ghana comes up in conversation is when we talk about football – big up the Black Stars!, either than that Ghana is viewed as just another war-torn African nation with militia roaming the street with machetes, mud houses, no running water, no electricity, no internet and so no facebook! no proper roads and everyone drives old bangers, starving children with flies flying in and out of their mouths at will because they are too weak to beat them off- well basically they see Ghana as just another hellhole!
The other time Ghana has been advertised as a sort of holiday destination, it has mainly been targeted at black Americans and conscious Caribbean’s wishing to trace their ancestry.
But Ghana is in a large part not like this. We have enough beautiful beaches, banging night clubs and indeed enough alcohol to match Magaluf, Tenerife or Napa! Our big problem in attracting holiday makers is an image one.
What will make people still want to go Egypt in spite of the recent political upheaval instead of Ghana which has always been absolutely peaceful?
Image! Mention Egypt and the first thing that comes to mind is the Pyramids! Egypt has through the years been associated with this splendid bit of edifice and everything great and beautiful so a couple of months worth of bad press about political instability does not do much to change the image ordinary people have of that country. Positive image branding is everything.
Ghana may not be a developed country but we surely are developing and we definitely have enough selling points to get us a place amongst the rankings of holiday hotspots! Thailand is not much different from Ghana in terms of social and economic infrastructure but it still attracts thousands of holiday makers.
We may not have lady boys but we surely have our own strong points to use to our advantage. And Prague is another great example. It’s a really amazing party town, attracting people from all over the world, I even met a Kazakhstani in a club in Prague! It was not Borat by the way if you were wondering. That is how good it is but its not a massively great city! It’s got dodgy roads, road signs hanging off and terrible terrible chicken donner kebab! In spite of all of this, it’s a really good party town.
So that’s it. Get the image right and people will come along and they will pass the good message on to others and we will get a ripple effect thing going. Whiles working on the image thing we may want to take a look at the flight fares. The cost of flight fares to Ghana is just as much as the cost of a week long all inclusive holiday to most of the hotspots in Spain.
So yeah lets work on the image first and then when demand for tickets to Ghana rises prices should move in the opposite direction. Hmm I sound like my former Economics lecturer now. But yeah let’s all do our bit to recreate a positive image for our beloved Ghana. Let’s spread the good news about GH! Big up to Sway he reps GH all day any day.
By Maclean Arthur