Traveling recently on transit through Accra airport, gave me hope Africa would get it right someday.
One thing I have come to learn over time is that the society has a way of shaping her peoples degree of integrity.
Arriving Accra, I needed to make a call, I found a young boy selling recharge cards, I requested to buy a sim card and call time equivalent to 20 dollars since I had several calls to make. I had no idea of the exchange rates, I only told him to give me an equivalent call time of this dollar amount in your currency.
He gave me a sim and loaded it and went away. Barely 30 minutes later, he came back to me and said he just inquired from his friend at the exchange, and that what he actually gave me was the equivalent of 4 US dollars. He brought back 16 dollars change.
I told him to keep the change, but he left behind a positive impression of his country to an international guest.
Other surprises in Accra included free bottle water issued to every guest at the international terminal as we arrived.
Excellent customer care as all international arriving passengers were given a small booklet on Investment and Tourism opportunities in Ghana.
The airport was old, but well maintained. The air-conditioning, toilet’s, young and vibrant fresh graduate immigration officers, I was really impressed.
No airport staff asked “Oga wetin you get for me ” while discharging their duties.
Accra Ghana is a model Cross River can copy.
As Ayade takes on Tourism and Culture, a word of advice. We will expect more coordination from you than an average commissioner.
At least let us define the success indicators of your management and leadership style from the MDA you now superintend.
Great capital intensive tourist projects are essential, but focus more on Tourism essentials that would create impressions.
How prepared are our people to receive local and international tourists? What is the sanitary state of our airport toilet’s and basic sanitation in our tourist sites? Do we have functional Tourism trained customer relation officers at our airports?
What kind of impression do first time visitors have about Calabar, the Ranch and Agbokim Water Falls in terms of sanitary conditions and maintenance of Tourism culture.
How prepared is our Culture departments to entertain international guests? What is the state of their costumes and to what extent are our own younger people encouraged to invest and promote their individual talents during carnival and other shows. Are they also rewarded and encouraged as we readily do to foreign performances?
Charity they say begins at home. His Excellency Sir, as you assume the role of Tourism Commissioner, we may not attain the Tourism heights of Jamaica, but at least we can copy Accra.
16 years going, Tourism in Cross River State still cannot sustain itself, it still depends on subvention, we hope your leadership will be the difference we look up to.
Princewill Odidi is a United States based social Commentator. (Princewillodidi@yahoo.com)
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.