Wise men say ‘’If it never rains, then we’ll never grow’’. They also say “without the rain, then there will be no rainbow’’. These all point to positive effects of rain. However, rain isn’t always a good servant because although we always pray for rains to water our plants and increase yield in agriculture, flood and erosion are also not too far away. When we take a microscopic look at tourism in Ghana, seasons play a very vital role in i’s growth and development. During the dry seasons, the dynamics and benefits are very different from the rainy season. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website looks at some of the effects of heavy rains on tourism in Ghana.
International Arrivals – Almost all Europeans and Americans who come to Ghana/ Africa do so because of the warmth and sun. Left to rains and cold weather, they have that in abundance wherever they come from. Who wants to visit a country that is going through series of natural disasters or cities that are flooded with a general sense of insecurity? When it rains heavily in Ghana, some very popular tourist destinations or towns and cities close to these “tourism goldmines’’ may get affected. In recent past, the country has experienced a couple of heartbreaking flood situations and other disasters associated with heavy rains. These issues tend to drastically reduce tourists interest in travelling to Ghana which directly affects the number of international arrivals. The end results are a drastic decline in revenue. At best, our drainage systems need improvement as well as a well structured plan to curb these rain related issues. All over the world countries experience heavy rains. Thunderstorms and even in extreme cases tornados but their tourism hardly takes a hit. We can learn from these and be prepared for natural disasters that come about due to heavy rains. We must try as much as possible to put systems in place to prevent these from happening. Just in case prevention is not feasible, then a plan to manage issues such as these must be in place and ready to be implemented.
Access Roads to Tourist Sites – One of the greatest challenges facing the Ghanaian tourism industry is infrastructure. Access roads to some of the most popular tourist sites are nothing to write home about with many tourists either having a torrid time trying to find them or going through a rough time on some terrible roads just to get there. When it rains, the already bad roads become even worse and sometimes not even safe to use. Because many of our tourist sites are located inland with lots of vegetation covering them, heavy rains sometimes fell huge trees which either block access roads or become a hazard to users of these road networks. On very rare occasions, some vehicles get stuck on muddy roads or are swept off the flooded roads by rain water. Even when you manage to escape those roads, you may end with some mechanical problems on your vehicle later.
Disease Outbreaks – In Ghana, during the rainy seasons when there are prolonged periods of heavy rainfall, certain diseases such as malaria, foot & mouth diseases and cholera break out. For domestic travelers, they might have built a certain level of resistance to some of these but tourism takes a big hit when we talk about foreign visitors. The moment a tourist gets malaria or picks up any disease while on tour in Ghana, a negative image begins to form and that reflects in the feedback they take back home after the visit. That tourist may never come back here or he may even discourage others from coming to Ghana at certain times of the year. We must ensure that the risks are reduced to the barest minimum and strategies are in place to prevent them.
Rising Sea levels at beaches – Ideally, not a lot of people go to the beach when it rains. However, bearing in mind that the beaches present one of our best selling points as a country, we cannot write that out. During rainy seasons when there is a lot of rainfall, most of our beaches go through rising levels and this becomes risky for users. Many people do not go there and this affects revenue. Also, many tourists would not want to stay close to the coast during this time and if proximity to their business sites or other amenities becomes a challenge, then it is likely they won’t choose Ghana the next time.
All in all, Ghana is a great place to be all year round. However, in all honesty, there is a lot of work still to be done in order to maintain a great tourism outlook all year round by tackling these challenges and preventing some disasters. It is very possible to have a great inflow of tourists even during the rainy season but it takes a lot of focus, strategy and hardwork to make this work. Ghana is beautiful with great potential to develop tourism. Let’s make it happen.
Credit : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel