Reducing poverty

by ecotourism


Tourist Information publishes results ‘Feel Ghana’-campaign
In 2009 the Ghana Tourist Information Office for Europe opened office with its mission to acquire customers for 39 Ghanaian eco destinations and to reduce poverty at those communities. After one and a half year, the Tourist Information Offices evaluates and concludes success. Visitor numbers are doubled. Now the Tourist Information Office will broaden its scope from pilot country Ghana to community based destinations in other parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Reducing poverty
For rural areas, like the northern regions in Ghana, tourism is the only economic option. Without work the rural areas will be deserted because of migration to cities. Together with people, the traditional culture will vanish as well. Community Based Tourism (CBT) is therefore a main focus for economic growth in developing countries. Guesthouses are being built, guides are being trained, et cetera. However, the big question is: how to attract customers for those CBT destinations, which may be further away than the regular beaten track? The same question arose in Ghana. The ‘Feel Ghana’-campaign was used to get launching customers. And it was a successful one.

Both Ghana Tourist Board and individual destinations report a steady growth in visitors. Mrs. Eva van Dijk, director of the Ghana Tourist Information Office for Europe: “For a developing country such a growth is wonderful. Even better is the fact that this growth has also taken place in the poor northern regions. In 2010 we estimate that 30.000 eco tourists visited communities in the north. That is a doubling of the 2007 figure.” Remarkably this result was reached with a media budget of 0 Euro.

The home tourist as target audience
The “Feel Ghana” –campaign has four pillars: a cultural travel guide, a 8-episode TV series, a website and information services to press and consumers by the Tourist Information Office in The Netherlands. The office is trendsetting in “home tourism”: enjoy a far destination from the comfort of your own house. E.g. “Feel Ghana – the book” reads like a novel with colour locale and all cultural backgrounds. The travel guide sells very well to people who don’t plan to travel. “Feel Ghana – the movie” is a new addition to the campaign aimed at home tourists. Country manager Gerard van Heusden: “The journalistic approach of this target audience is very effective. We reach more people and a substantial part of the home tourists appears to be converted to actual visitors after reading the book or seeing the movie.”

Broadening to other countries
Ghana was a pilot. During coming years the Tourist Information Office will, in cooperation with Dutch CBI and UNWTO, broaden its scope to other community based destinations. Eva van Dijk: “At the moment we make a list of candidates. Interested parties from Africa, Asia or Latin America are invited to make them known to us. We see other countries have a promotion problem as well and tourism is as you may know all about pr.”

CBT Tourist Information Office for Europe
Mrs. Eva van Dijk & Mr. Gerard van Heusden,
Deventer, The Netherlands
T: (+31)(0) 6 505 201 76

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