Tourism is one of the most important industries in Ghana, contributing to the country’s economy and providing employment opportunities for its citizens. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism directly contributed GHS 5.5 billion to the Ghanaian economy in 2019.
Ghana is a land of rich history, diverse culture, and breath-taking natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for travellers from all over the world.
Again, Ghana has a rich cultural heritage that is closely tied to its history and is home to several historic forts and castles, including the Cape Coast Castle and the Elmina Castle, which serve as reminders of Ghana’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. These castles and forts are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites and attract thousands of visitors each year who come to learn about the country’s history and pay homage to those who suffered and perished during the slave trade.
Another major attraction in Ghana is its wildlife. The country is home to two national parks, the Mole National Park and the Kakum National Park, which are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, antelopes, baboons, and over 300 species of birds. These parks not only provide a unique opportunity for visitors to see wildlife in its natural habitat, but also help to preserve the country’s biodiversity and promote conservation efforts.
The country is also famous for its vibrant arts scene, which showcases the rich cultural heritage of Ghana and its people. The Arts Center in Accra, for example, is a hub for traditional African art and crafts and is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and culture.
Ghana is also known for its stunning beaches, which are a major draw for tourists and these beautiful natural landscapes makes Ghana an ideal destination for outdoor activities and adventure travel.
The future of Ghana’s tourism industry looks bright. The President of Ghana, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo in 2019 extended an invitation to foreign nationals and those in the diaspora to experience Ghana, under the Year of Return initiative.
As part of this plan, Ghana is being promoted as a global destination for tourists during the Christmas and New Year festive season through events highlighting Ghana’s unique role as an epicenter for culture and entertainment.
With the increasing popularity of December as a travel destination, Ghana is poised to become a major player in the global tourism industry. The country has already seen an influx of tourists from all over the world, and this trend is likely to continue. The government has implemented a number of initiatives to encourage more visitors to come and explore the country’s many attractions, such as improved infrastructure and increased investment in marketing campaigns.
DECEMBER IN GHANA: BEYOND THE EVENTS
In order to sustain and position December in Ghana as more than just events, it would be beneficial to focus on highlighting the unique cultural and historical experiences that the country offers during this time of the year.
On a Twitter Spaces event hosted by Global Media Alliance on January 27th, 2023, on the sustainability of this initiative, key stakeholders such as the Director at the Beyond the Return Secretariat, Annabelle McKenzie, Entertainment Journalist, Emmanuel Sarpong (Olele Salvador), Johnny Stone and Mannesah Kwafo both from the Global Media brand unanimously agreed there is the need to move the conversation of December In Ghana beyond the focus of just events.
HOW #DecemberInGhana CAN BE TRANSFORMED FROM A SERIES OF EVENTS TO A TOURISM EXPERIENCE IN GHANA
Highlight natural beauty: December is also a great time to visit Ghana due to its natural beauty, with many of the country’s national parks and beaches offering stunning views and wildlife sightings. By promoting these experiences, Ghana can position itself as a destination for eco-tourism.
Focus on local cuisine and traditional crafts: Ghana has a rich culinary tradition, with a variety of local dishes and traditional crafts that are unique to the country. By highlighting these experiences, Ghana can position itself as a destination for food and cultural tourism.
THE ROLE OF DIGITAL MARKETING IN TOURISM
Tourism in Ghana is a great opportunity for digital marketing. The tourism industry has experienced a significant transformation due to the impact of digital marketing. Previously, travellers relied on travel agents and tour operators as the primary sources of information. However, with the advent of the internet and social media, tourists can now access a wealth of information easily.
With digital marketing, tourism businesses can reach a broader audience, promote their services and products, and enhance their brand awareness. Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram provide tourism businesses with an opportunity to direct their marketing campaigns towards specific demographics and align them with their audience’s interests.
By creating content that showcases the beauty of the country, its culture, and its attractions, Ghana can engage potential tourists from around the world. Social media campaigns can be used to reach a wide audience and create excitement about visiting Ghana in December. Additionally, leveraging influencers from within the country or from abroad can help to spread the word about December in Ghana. By creating an online presence with engaging content and attractive visuals, Ghana can draw attention to its unique offerings and encourage more people to visit during the holiday season.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE WAYS DIGITAL MARKETING CAN BE LEVERAGED IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY:
Website: A well-designed website that showcases the unique culture, history, and attractions of Ghana can attract potential tourists. It can provide valuable information about Ghana’s landmarks, events, and activities that are popular among visitors. Additionally, the dedicated website on tourism can be optimized for search engines (SEO), making it easier for people searching for information about Ghana to find and learn about it.
Social Media: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used to engage potential tourists and build relationships with them. Stakeholders can create and share content about its culture, festivals, and attractions to attract potential visitors. Social media also allows for user-generated content, which can increase the visibility of Ghana to a wider audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): By optimizing the content of the website and social media pages for search engines, it becomes easier for potential tourists to find information about Ghana online. This can increase the visibility of Ghana’s attractions and promote tourism.
Content Marketing: Creating engaging and informative content about Ghana’s culture, festivals, and attractions can attract potential tourists. Stakeholders can create blog posts, videos, and other content that provides valuable information to travellers. This content can be shared on social media platforms and other websites, increasing the visibility of Ghana to a wider audience.
Online Advertising: Stakeholders can use online advertising to promote its attractions and events to potential tourists. Online advertising can be targeted to specific demographics and geographic locations, making it more effective than traditional advertising methods.
Influencer Marketing: Stakeholders can collaborate with social media influencers who have large followings to promote its attractions and events. Influencers can create content about their experiences in Ghana and share it with their followers, increasing the visibility of Ghana to a wider audience. This can be particularly effective for reaching younger audiences who are more likely to be influenced by social media personalities.
In conclusion, digital marketing is a crucial aspect of promoting tourism and reaching potential travellers. By utilizing a variety of digital marketing strategies and tools, tourism companies can build a strong online presence, reach a wider audience, and drive more sales.
With its vibrant culture and friendly people, Ghana is sure to remain a popular tourist destination for many years to come.
Writer: Chris Appiah-Badu, Digital Content Strategist, Global Media Alliance.