psychologists inform us that when a person who is
temporarily or permanently responsible for your welfare and
wellbeing takes time to appreciate your likes and dislikes,
it makes you feel safe, secure, comfortable and happy. These
feelings make you like your host more, not to mention liking
the destination more.
Being professional hosts,
practitioners in the tourism industry in Ghana are alert to
their responsibilities in this regard. So, in pursuance of
their objective of increasing tourist arrivals information
officers of the Ghana Tourist Board keep a book called
Visitor Comments Book. The purpose of this book is to survey
our international visitors to find out what their
preferences are. At the Kumasi office, we requested over 1
000 visitors to answer 2 seemingly simple questions: WHAT DO
YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT GHANA? WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE MOST ABOUT
On the lighter side, one Danish
student insisted that what she disliked most were fish
heads. Let our restaurant and chop bar operators know that
if we eat fish heads here, in the affluent world of the west
fish heads are garbage and should not show their faces on
the dining table.
Then the two gentlemen from Holland
stated with full conviction that what they hate most about
Ghana are the hills between Twifo Praso and Dunkwa. I have
never been to that part of Ghana, so if you have been there
tell me how these offending hills look and feel like: after
all, hills are supposed to be beautiful scenic objects.
An American lady recorded that Ghana
is too far from Uganda. I think some airline deceived her. A
Belgium secretary hates our too numerous one way streets, so
let our city mayors beware.
Now let the GAs and FANTEs get a dose
of this: about four tourists responded that what they hate
is KENKEY. Unfortunately they did not specify whether it is
the Central Region type or the Greater Accra Region type.
FUFU was lucky, it scored higher with only one respondent.
A Dutch visitor complained that there
are too many churches, and some visitors hate the sight of
our women beating children… how very embarrassing.
But,fellow Ghanaians, the foregoing
are not our worst offences. Our highest offence as a tourist
destination we can hardly rectify... it is a tiny creature
of God called the mosquito. They harass both visitors and
their hosts, and are universally hated.
Next to mosquitoes is the weather...
it is either too hot, or too cold, or too dry, or too wet
Can you guess the third most serious
offender? Of course, the taxi driver. Nobody seems to like
them except their wives. They take advantage of everybody,
especially international visitors. The Ghana Tourist Board
is making efforts to get our taxi drivers to collect honest
charges for honest labour.
The next major complaint of tourists
is Ghanaians (aided by a few refugees) begging them for
money and other items like cameras, watches, clothes, pens
and even medicated spectacles. A French visitor was divided
in his opinion about whether the Bolgatanga - Tamale road is
worse than our penchant for begging. Let us stop this. The
tourists are not dripping rich, I assure you.
A large number of visitors cited
bureaucracy (and visa hassles) as a major negative point. We
all work for our salaries, so why do we have to resort to
this horrible go and come method to force a poor tourist
into favouring us with baby bribes?
Our tourists hate the garbage and the
dirt, open drains and people urinating just anywhere,
especially against walls, and they hate the numerous
writings on public walls that say DO NOT URINATE HERE
On a closing note for the negative
side, some of our visitors hate "African time"
when X'oclock means any number of hours after x o'clock.
Others hate our talephones (which do not work too well).
Don't be discouraged. Tourism has a
bright future in Ghana. Don't forget ,they also said what
they like about Ghana. We are really good. Topping the list
of what people like most is our genuine warmth and
friendliness. They also mentioned friendly tour guides. They
are also "mad about" our rich culture and the
people. Our children also came up strongly, but definitely
they should not beg. While large numbers of them like our
clothing, others are in love with our markets, villages,
club and Guinness beer.
A Canadian listed as his reason for
coming to Ghana FUN<FUN<FUN and he insisted that what
he likes about our country is EVERYTHING!