Hospitality research was recently undertaken by HTI Consulting in Ghana. The focus was placed on understanding the levels of demand for leisure hotels in the country. Whilst the country has yet to make strong inroads into the international leisure market, the hospitality research indicated that the demand from local, expatriate, and regional leisure tourists is growing, particularly as economic conditions in West Africa improve.
Whilst the tourism data for Ghana is outdated, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the almost one million visitors to Ghana travel for purposes of leisure. A large proportion of such visitors are from neighbouring Nigeria. Hospitality research with leisure resorts in Ghana indicated that Nigeria has limited offerings in terms of leisure resorts and Ghana is therefore a suitable, nearby alternative for middle- to upper-income earners in Nigeria wanting to get away from it all. The respondents that partook in the hospitality research indicated that the Nigerian market was the largest source of foreign room-night demand.
The preferred destinations included Ada Foah, the Volta Region, and the beaches around Accra (Labadi Beach). Resorts in these areas are approximately two hours’ drive from Accra, the gateway to the country, and offer a diversity of entertainment, including beaches, beach activities, swimming pools, kids’ clubs, tennis courts, etc. The exception to the above is Labadi Beach which is in Accra itself.
Although showing small growth, the levels of demand for resorts in Ghana remain small. Whilst the number of rooms on offer is relatively limited, hospitality research showed that the occupancies of these resorts is only at an approximate 60% mark. “Greater investment in resort infrastructure that offers international standards and service is a key requirement for future growth from foreign markets”, stated Wayne Troughton of HTI Consulting, a leader in hospitality research in Africa. “West Africa offers good proximity to Europe and with the right product investment, infrastructure development, and marketing, it could attract high levels of demand, particularly over the European winter periods.” With Kotoka International Airport increasingly positioning itself as a hub in West Africa, the airlift required to grow the leisure segment is gradually being put in place.
Whilst hospitality research indicated that development of the leisure sector in Ghana will take time, internationally branded operators are entering the resort space in the country. A Ramada Resort is operational by Coco Beach, whilst another internationally branded five-star property is expected to operate a resort approximately 90 minutes from Accra within the short to medium term. As resort, entertainment, road, and air infrastructure continues to improve, increased leisure demand for Ghana can become a reality.
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