THE YEAR OF RETURN- YOUTH IN TOURISM
Tourism plays a crucial role in the development and growth of all countries.
Tourism had always been recognized as a remunerative industry that
positively contributes to a country’s GDP, citizen’s quality of life and generation of employment.
Tourism is a key driver of economic growth in Ghana which generates foreign exchange earnings, creates jobs and wealth as well as stimulates other sectors of the country. It is currently the fourth largest source of foreign exchange earnings estimated at US 2.2 million in 2015 with arrivals of 1.2 million.
The contribution of tourism to the Ghanaian economy cannot be over emphasized. The World Travel and Tourism Council in a report in 2017, highlighted the impact of the sector on Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and on job creation. According to the report, the sector accounted for about 10.4 percent of global GDP and 313 million jobs, thus 9.9 percent of total employment in 2017.
In Ghana, the report noted, the total contribution of tourism to GDP was GHC12, 573.3 million (USD1, 335.5mn) which formed approximately6.2 percent of GDP in 2017 and is forecasted to rise by 4.2 percent to GHC19, 852.8mn (USD4, 522.3mn), accounting for about 5.7 percent of GDP in 2028.
On job creation, it said the sector’s contribution to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 5.3 percent of total employment (882,000 jobs). This is expected to rise by 16 percent to 807,000 jobs in 2028 (4.8 percent of total).
However, how many youths are involved in this buoyant sector? What is their role and how is government supporting the youth?
Studatour limited, a travel and tour company started by Mr. Moses Gyasi, a young entrepreneur that seeks to serve its patrons with exciting and unique travel solutions and services amd also promote the beautiful and welcoming country of not only in Ghana but in other countries on the African continent. Its vision is to be a model tour company that bridges cultures and attracts all persons to experience the beauty and serenity of God’s creations.
As part of its packages, it organizes tours for the youth dubbed “IMAGO TOUR” which seeks to expose them to the tourism potentials in Ghana and beyond amidst education and entertainment. It is organized twice every year. The 2019’s edition brought youth from all walks of life such as students from both the secondary and tertiary institutions, national service personnel, workers and religious groups. What makes this year different is that, it broke boundaries and cultures bringing youth from different parts of the African continent such as Nigeria. IMAGO Tour came off on 16th November 2019 where the youth embarked on a journey to the Eastern region to explore its plethora of tourist attractions. The youth began with hiking on the Odweanoma mountains at Kwahu Atibie where muscles were stretched, calories burnt and breathed in fresh air from the natural reserve. We continued to Adasawase in the Atewa East district to visit the cascading Tini waterfalls. The site and ambiance of the waterfall, the cozy pool of water from the fall and the sweet melodies from the birds made our visit more fun. The tour ended with a canopy walk at Bunso Arboretum at Bunso amidst games, dancing and socializations.
We believe tourism has the potential of reducing social vices and drug addiction if such organizations are supported to create platforms for the youth to explore the rich tourism potentials we are endowed with as Ghanaians.
Ghana is and has always been known for its wide range of tourist attractions and facilities.