Ghanaians and the Idea of Vacations; Is It Really a Problem of Cost?

Ghana is a beautiful country with 16 regions that abound with amazing landscapes, tourist sites, beaches, and each region has something particular to them accompanied by their own history, making each and every corner worthy of vacations.

It is however surprising that there are a majority of Ghanaians living in Ghana who have not made a move to explore other regions aside the ones they are currently resided in.

I have tried to understand why Ghanaians living in Ghana do not partake in local tourism activities; I have researched and questioned and finally come to the conclusion that the problem is three-pronged.

First problem, the Ghanaian culture or perspective of what a vacation is. Second, low earning or income issues, and the third, the associated costs that local tourism comes with.

I will expatiate on these and come up with some solutions below;

The Culture of Vacation

I have finally come to the conclusion that it is difficult for the normal working class Ghanaian to take some time off and go on a “good vacation.” …be it a vacation in Ghana or outside of the country.

The working class Ghanaian would rather spend a weekend in Osu eating yam and pork at Purple Pub, “chill” at Bloombar on a Friday night or get involved in some other hangout activity as opposed to actually changing sights and scenes to see new places and enjoy some new ambience.

The few times the worker in Ghana would make an effort at a “vacay,” it usually comes in the form of a not-too-distant getaway from Accra central… they go to places like Kokrobite beach or even sometimes a bit farther to Aqua Safari in Ada (which actually cool) — a considerable effort on their part, well congratulations for trying.

And what happens if they have a family? They usually go to the mall on Saturdays with the kids, shop groceries at Shoprite, spend some time at Labadi beach and go to church on Sundays, and the routine starts again on Monday.

It personally perturbs me to see that individuals who are working and making earnings do not have a vacation or destination bucket list. We may all not be travel enthusiasts but yo fam, doesn’t it excite you to get out of your own areas sometimes and see what other places (even within your own country) have in stock?

A beach resort in Keta, Volta Region, Ghana

Low Earnings or Income Issues

Currently in most parts of Africa, people view vacation as more of the lifestyle that pertains to western folks. This has been mainly due to how majority of our people have been raised — we have been raised to go to school, aspire to a decent Job and work hard to make enough money so our mothers can use us as a testimony for success and shame the proverbial devil and detractors.

We literally kill ourselves with work and do not consider the idea of taking some rest. I mean the average thinking is “it is a total waste of money to go to Keta just to see the beach and sleep in a nice hotel for a different ambience.”

The reality of income or earnings constraints is however not lost on me. It is all nice and easy to tell people to go on a vacation when the real question should be, “can they really afford it?”

I wouldn’t deny the fact that vacationing does a lot of good to our human system, like a relaxed mind, a refreshed body with an enthusiastic heart, however it is heartbreaking to realize that majority of Ghanaians do not earn enough to enable them have adequate disposable income such that they can afford to spare some resources for a fun time on an island — it remains a wish they can barely actualize. I wouldn’t go into the salary details in Ghana but the average salary according to www.averagesalarysurvey.com states that about 71% of Ghanaians earn less than GHS 30,000 (USD 5,176) per annum.

Cost of Local Tourism

Looking at the average salary I can’t hold back but question the affordability of local tourism in Ghana.

Vacations come with its accompanying costs like hotel, food, tour fees, souvenirs and others. To enjoy a two nights vacation in Ghana, one must be ready to spend an average of 1500 cedis. But if you are lucky to join group tours, that price can go down some what; but it still doesn’t negate the fact that it is still beyond the affordability of a good number of the population — group tours of two nights for one adult costs on average between 700 to 900 cedis (depending on the region).

A hotel in the centre of the Mole National Park, Northern Region, Ghana

In Conclusion

It is about time we inculcate some travel habits into ourselves as individuals, if not for anything at all, but for its benefits health-wise.

Vacationing, relaxing, getaways, taking some time off to explore and tour places are important habits to develop to ultimate stay sane and happy in fact. I understand the income deficiency, but nothing is really impossible if we want to do something for our own benefit.

On the other hand I will say touring locally is actually pretty affordable in comparison with touring outside of the country. I have also realized that a lot of Ghanaians think that the ideal vacation is going to London or Paris, that will be a story for another day!

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Audrey is a young versatile writer with strong media and communications skills. She has a keen interest in African entertainment and politics.

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