Mr Nkunu Akyea, a tourism development expert, has called for a more purposeful approach to the development of tourism in the Volta Region to rake in maximum benefits.
He said the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) should be the policy propagating agent harmonising the various tourism development blueprints of the districts, into an integrated regional tourism plan.
Mr Akyea made the call while was addressing a stakeholders seminar on the “Role of Districts in Sustainable Tourism Development in the Volta Region”, in Ho.
He said Central Region’s present accolade as the “Heartbeat of Ghana’s Tourism” was as a result of a deliberate regional plan, of which he was a protagonist, to achieve the results.
Mr Akyea said tourist attractions “are not given but created” by imaginative showcasing and management of the objects or activities of interest to visitors.
He said the industry is intricate, spreading immeasurably across many areas with the capacity to raise incomes of rural dwellers where many of the attractions are found.
Mr Akyea who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Service Scheme announced that service personnel who would be engaged this year would be given orientation and posted to the districts to take inventory of the districts’ tourism wares.
He called on the districts to network and build infrastructure and service linkages that would fall within the tourist destination planning schemes.
Colonel Cyril Necku (Rtd), Deputy Regional Minister said tourism is a huge potential source of revenue for the districts.
Mr Nico Beunders, Senior Advisor at the Netherlands Development Agency’s (SNV) Eastern Portfolio said a tourist visiting Ghana spends an average of 2,000 dollars, 40 per cent of the amount on souvenirs.
He said the money helps to raise the living standards of service providers in the tourist destinations directly or indirectly.
Mr Beunders listed the Centre for National Culture, RCC, Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, Ho Polytechnic, Ghana Tourism Board (GTB) and Private Service Providers, besides SNV as front liners in the destination planning schemes in the region.
Mr Kwaku Passah, Chief Executive of Galaxy Tours speaking on “Service Quality in Tourism”, complained about the crude and unfriendly attitude of frontline workers in the tourism industry in the region.
Recounting his personal experience, he said a Caterer at Hohoe, threw him out when he called at the bar to savour a ‘fufu’ meal.
In another instance, a receptionist at a hotel at Kpando would not take her eyes off the TV to welcome him.
He therefore called on operators of the hospitality industry to hire the right staff and train them regularly.
Mr Charles Obeng, a Manager of GTB explained that the board undertakes capacity building and standardisation to make tourism flourish.
Miss Joyce Gawu, Acting Regional Manager of GTB, lauded the RCC for playing a key role in putting together training programmes to promote tourism.
She expressed the hope that the relationship between the council and the board “would be nurtured till the region becomes a tourism hub in the country”.