Ghana joined the rest of the world on Thursday, September 27, 2018 in celebration of World Tourism Day, a day set aside by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to raise awareness on tourism’s actual and potential contribution to sustainable development.
Anchored on the theme ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’, this year’s event helped to put the opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development.
The Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) joined the world to celebrate the Tourism Day, with a call for Ghana to capitalise more on the digital space to promote tourism in the country.
According to the Union, technology plays a key role, especially with a thriving sharing economy of the Ubers, Airbnbs and Tripadvisors of our world today.
“TOUGHA, therefore, calls on the government to provide the needed incentives to the private sector and where necessary crack the whip to ensure that all parts of the country are connected and digitally smart,” the President of TOUGHA, Kwesi Eyison, said.
“Each positive photo posted on social media from any tourist site, however, remote counts as a marketing tool. Each payment made via mobile money to a food vendor is building the industry. We can’t afford to lose out.”
He further noted that bridging the country’s digital divide would cater for the unmet needs of today’s unconventional tourist.
TOUGHA also commends the government for staying on track to complete the Terminal 3 project at the Kotoka International Airport which is believed to further boost tourism in the country.
“With the Terminal 3 receiving great reviews in tourism circles around the world, it is also important to modernise some of the operations at the airport.”
“We have options to either scrap the existing departure and arrival forms or introduce a self-scan system as pertains in most technologically-savvy airports across the world rather than get stuck with the filling of those forms,” Mr. Eyison said.
The Union noted that international travel is increasingly driven by cross-border collaboration between governments and the private sector.
While applauding the government for maintaining the Visa on arrival policy started on July 1, 2016, TOUGHA believes that it is very important for the government to ride on the applause Ghana is receiving at international tourism gatherings across the continent to begin issuing e-visas.
TOUGHA believes digital platforms including, mobile devices, social media and accessible information would enable destination marketers to engage with consumers and stakeholders on a larger scale than ever before.
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