Dr. Anyah urges attention to health tourism in Ghana
Dr. Felix Anyah, Executive Chairman, Holy Trinity Medical Centre & Holy Trinity SPA & Health Farm, is calling on the government and industry players to pay attention to health tourism, a fast growing product in Ghana’s tourism sector.
Dr Anyah observes that Ghana has several advantages in health tourism saying “the ease of global travel has enhanced health tourism even in patients with heart problems.”
According to him, Ghana is situated in the “Centre” of the world at the meeting place of the Equator and the Greenwich Meridian access to Ghana from the west or the east is relatively easy if health tourism is given the desired support.
“Health Tourism will receive a boost should it be captured and supported by the Ghana Tourist Board. It will also be enhanced with a committed public-private partnership,” said Dr Anyah at the 2011 mid-year review of the Spa’s corporate strategy in Sogakope, a pioneering health tourism destination in the country.
“Ghana therefore could have an edge over India in terms of distance and edge over Thailand, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ukraine, China, and Brazil,” he added, giving the importance of the area citing over 50 counties that have identified health tourism as a national industry.
But according to him, the Ghana Tourist Board currently captures only six tourism products such as Ecotourism, Historical tourism, Cultural tourism and Conference tourism. The remaining two are Recreational tourism and Community – based Ecotourism projects.
Dr. Anyah says the week long strategic review conference of the Holy Trinity SPA and Health Farm, having reviewed the operations of the first half of the year 2011 and discussed among others how to improve upon the exiting superior services it has offered over the years, says it will lay emphasis on its customer relations.
Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in a report titled World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel & Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2011, ranks Ghana at 123 out of 139 countries that the report covered. The report which was released March 10, 2011 estimates that Ghana made over $500 million from the travel and tour sector in 2010.
The importance of tourism in general to Ghana’s economy cannot be over-emphasized. A former Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Azumah Mensah was quoted as saying that the sector is the fourth highest foreign exchange earner for Ghana, and the country earned a total of $1.3 billion in 2008.
And being one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy it is expected to grow at an average rate of 4.1 % per annum over the next two decades.
Moreover, Ghana is the third most important tourist destination in West Africa according to Luigi Cabrini, Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).
The GNA had reported him as saying international tourist arrivals in Ghana for 2007 was 587,000 whiles tourism receipts for the same year amounted to $908 million with an average annual growth rate between 2000–2007 pegged at 5.7 percent.
According to a B&FT report, projected tourists arrivals for 2008 was pegged at 698,069 with receipts in monetary value amounting to US$1.2 million, as against 586,612 arrivals in 2007 amounting to US$1.17 million and one million visitors were targeted for 2009.
The San Francisco based Ethical Traveller included Ghana on its select list of 10 developing countries that attract tourists based on ethical values in 2010 and the country’s peaceful and progressive democratic practice also makes the country a tourism destination of choice.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Ekow Quandzie