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Investment in Ghana’s flourishing tourism sector

Article - July 29, 2014
Despite already being a popular tourist destination, opportunities for investing in Ghanaian tourism are still as virtually as undeveloped as its beaches
Ghana’s natural beauty, rich culture and artistic tradition, the vibrant capital of Accra, and its warm and welcoming people have made it a huge draw for Africa-bound travelers from the U.S. But taking a look at the figures that represent the impressive growth of the relatively fledgling tourism industry may also entice U.S. investors looking for high returns and willing to take the risky plunge into Sub-Saharan Africa (although as a result of peace, security, political stability and well-developed business legislation and incentives, Ghana, or ‘Africa for beginners’, is certainly one of the least risky).

Rapid growth in tourist numbers has subsequently led to tourism receipts trebling from $836 million in 2005 to $2.5 billion in 2012, contributing around 3% to GDP and making it the fourth largest exchange earner after gold, cocoa and remittances.

Optimistic about its future in the medium term, the World Travel and Tourism Council forecast tourism’s contribution to GDP to rise to 5.4% by 2022. Apart from tourists coming for pleasure, business tourism is on the rise as Ghana’s other rapidly growing industries, particularly the gas and mining industries, draw more international businesspeople to the West African nation.
No doubt challenges remain, particularly vis-à-vis infrastructure and global marketing and promotion, but the government unveiled the National Tourism Development Plan 2013-2027 last year, which aims to address some of the main challenges facing the industry and envisages tourism becoming one of the chief engines of growth and one of the stable pillars in a sustainable and diversified economy. For this to happen, Ghana needs private investment, particularly in hotels, resorts, transport, airports, roads, water, electricity, and sanitation. The golden opportunities on Africa’s Gold Coast are certainly abound for investors willing to take a bet on this promising industry.