This week the Department of Tourism of CCTU, celebrates two of four selected alumni as part of showcasing itself. They are:
Emmanuel Nii Ayi Solomon who holds an HND in Tourism with First class from Cape Coast Technical, a B.Sc. in Business Administration and an MPhil in Marketing; both from the University of Ghana. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ghana Business School and has just been appointed Assistant Lecturer at Accra Technical University.
Eunice Deladem Ohenewaa Mensah, currently a Commonwealth Scholar studying for an LLM in Health Law and Ethics at Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom.
HOST: Congratulations, to you both, for your achievements which we will get to shortly! You are welcome to ghhospitality.net. Nii Ayi, beginning with you, I’m eager to find out if tourism was your first choice entering Cape Coast Technical University (then Cape Coast Polytechnic).
NII AYI: Well…tourism was not my first choice. But let me hurriedly say that I chanced upon tourism accidentally. My initial intention was to study communication studies at the University of Cape Coast. When that didn’t work out, I decided to study Tourism at Cape Coast Technical University. Though I didn’t know what the prospects were, I am glad I took that bold decision. It’s been quite a fulfilling journey for me.
HOST: Great! How long ago did you graduate from the CCTU and what have you been doing since?
NII AYI: I completed CCTU in 2011. After completion, I worked with Apstar Tours Limited for about 8 years while pursuing my academic goals. During that period I acquired my first and master degrees and started Village Minds Production, a theatre company that produces all my literary works and Cool Trips & Tours. I worked also with the University of Ghana Business School as a Teaching Assistant until my recent appointment as an Assistant Lecturer at Accra Technical University.
HOST: You are also an award-winning Ghanaian Tour Guide and Tour Planner. Congratulations! What did it take to achieve this?
NII AYI: Part of the credit goes to CCTU for the training I had there, and part goes to Mrs. Stella Appenteng for the opportunity she gave me to work with Travel and Tours company for nearly a decade. The training I had at Apstar Tours Limited was solid. It is this training that made me a professional tour guide and travel planner. Let me also use this opportunity to thank Mr. Hiamey who taught me tour planning and costing and Dr. Nana Baa Wiredu for his words of encouragement over the years. All these people have inspired me to achieve these feats.
HOST: How did you get the opportunities into several international trade exhibitions and conferences to promote Ghana’s travel products?
NII AYI: I got this opportunity during my work with Apstar Tours Limited. As part of my training, I had to attend these trade exhibitions to market our travel products and services. I have also attended some of these fairs on my own, like the Arabian Travel Market. Because of my work in the tourism space, it is very essential to attend these travel markets to make new contacts and meet new partners.
HOST: Deladem, with a touch of a button I am able to reach you although you are not currently in Ghana. Thank you for your time. Do help us reconcile the passion which led you to study tourism and your current career pursuit.
DELADEM: I decided to take the Tourism programme because of my passion for nature and my desire to understand the travel and tourism industry. I love travelling and learning about diverse cultures and I was keen to make a career out of my passion, although I had other aspirations.
In 2015, I took a bold a step towards my other professional pursuits and began a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at KNUST. Although I am pursuing a passion in legal industry, tourism will always be a part of my life. My love for nature and understanding diverse cultures makes it easy for me to stick to the tourism industry and I hope to step up stronger with that aspect of my life as soon as I possibly can. Further, CCTU Tourism Department trained me too well for me to let it all go to waste.
HOST: Deladem, you just put a smile on my face. Nii Ayi, there is another side of you; in creative arts . Did your study in tourism influence this? Tell us a bit about it.
NII AYI: Well…I am the team lead at Village Minds Production. I love acting and writing poems and play. I started acting during my primary school days. My love for the performing arts is what led to me producing plays every year.
The Creative Arts space is a space that is so dear to my heart. I do not think my study of tourism influenced it in any way. This is because I was already in the performing arts space before I encountered tourism.
HOST: Good to know. Now let’s zero in on your tourism studies at the Cape Coast Technical University. Looking back, describe what impact the three years had on you.
NII AYI: The Department of Tourism at the Cape Coast Technical University gave me the solid foundation I have in the travel and hospitality space. The department arguably is one of the best and most established tourism departments in my opinion. The lectures at the department are solid, academically grounded, and have been a blessing to all students who are willing to apply themselves to the training laid down by the department. The department has a way of training students to compete in the global space and be world-class. They have trained students some of whom are pursuing their doctorate degrees both home and abroad. My life story cannot be written without mentioning the Department of Tourism, Cape Coast Technical University, and more specifically Mr. Michael Kissi who has been integral part of his growth and development both as an academic, tourism professional, and practitioner even after graduating from the university.
HOST: How about you, Deladem, looking back, describe the impact the 3-year study of tourism at CCTU had on you; knowing now that it seemed to have been taken over by a passion in the legal industry.
DELADEM: My HND Tourism programme journey was more than I had anticipated. I found myself in a Department that had experienced lecturers who understood the industry and had teaching styles that made the most complicated topic simple. The lecturers were also supportive and made time to answer questions even outside teaching hours. The department delivered on its promise of industrial internships.
I had the opportunity to intern with two (2) Four-Star hotels in the Eastern Region, as well as participate in several cultural festivals including PANAFEST and the Fetu Afahye festival as a tour guide. I had the opportunity to tour many attractions and understand how the tourism industry in Ghana contributes to the overall development of the country. I also saw first-hand how tourism transforms communities and the lives of ordinary people. The programme also introduced me to the multi-faceted challenges the tourism industry faces and equipped me with knowledge and skills to be solution-oriented.
My HND Tourism qualification from the Department gave me the opportunity to pursue a Graduate Diploma in Hospitality with the London Centre of Marketing (LCM), and a Diploma in Sales Management with the Chartered Institute of Administrators, Ghana. At the entrance exams and interview, my HND Tourism education came in handy because all my interview questions were centered on tourism and hospitality law. I was subsequently enrolled on the programme and went ahead to graduate as one of the best graduates of my class.
I am currently a Commonwealth Scholar studying for an LLM in Health Law and Ethics at Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom. I can confidently say that CCTU Department of Tourism came through for me; when I needed recommendation and references for my applications.
Although it has been over 10 years since I graduated as part of the top ten students in my graduating year, CCTU’s Department of Tourism continues to feature in my career and academic endeavours. My former Lecturers continue to check on my progress, offer support, counselling, and are always ready to write credible and factual recommendations for my pursuits when called upon. I can confidently say that CCTU’s Department of Tourism is one of the best places to start a Tourism and Hospitality Management education and training programme in Ghana. Not only will the student receive the best tuition from a professional, passionate, and experienced faculty, but they will find a community of talented students and individuals who are willing to support you in your academic, professional and life journey.
HOST: Nii Ayi, in your opinion, how can places like Paga Crocodile Sanctuary and the Larabanga Mosque become sites which enjoy repeat visits?
NII AYI: I think the Paga Crocodile Pond or Sanctuary needs to be developed a little bit more. In its current state, it is not attractive. If you travel to the northern region just to visit the pond, you will be disappointed.
The last time I was there they had no visitor washrooms and some of the locals will also direct you to another crocodile pond nearby. It doesn’t make the site attractive. I feel the activities at the tourist site must be well coordinated to generate repeat visits.
My problem with visiting the Larabanga Mosque is the way the whole community seems to pounce on you once you arrive at the destination. Even before you start the tour everyone comes out to tell you, their problems. This is a ‘put-off’ for most tourists. After the tour, you have to make sure you tip everyone, else your vehicle won’t move “literary”.
Another problem with the site is that sometimes the locals fight over the guiding.
To attract more tourists to this site, for me these problems must be looked at.
It is a fantastic tourist site with great history but as it is now, Ghana Tourism Authority should have some trained local guides there and coordinate the activities at the site. Being a community-based attraction, when this is done, I think tourists will enjoy their time there and may want to return to it again or inform their friends and families about it.
HOST: I share your views. Thank you. Many students use either the tourism or the hospitality industry as a stepping stone for other careers. What would you attribute to this, Deladem?
DELADEM: I think this generally happens because the tourism industry in Ghana has not been shaped in a way that makes it a plausible career path for any budding young person.
The Ministry of Tourism and the other stakeholders must find a way of making a career path in the sector attractive and open up opportunities. For instance, we could turn some of our old castles and forts into event centers where actors reenact the slave route stories, major happenings in Ghana, how folklore helped in shaping communities among others. Graduates from the various tourism departments can work as guides and facilitators for some of these events.
We need to change the face of tourism in Ghana to meet global trends. For example, we could pick a theme like mob justice and develop a ‘choices and consequences programme’ at some of the forts. The purpose of the programme will be tell participants the effort of mob justice and how it impacts on society. Such event can be used to educate participants about laws in Ghana and how crime affects individuals, societies and the nation at large. Graduates can facilitate such events as part of a tour of the old forts.
HOST: Great ideas! Thanks Deladem. Name a site which you would recommend for everyone in Ghana to go to and why.
DELADEM: I love the Wli falls in the Volta region. It is the highest waterfall in Ghana and has a large colony of bats, butterflies and other animals. I love the place because of my love for nature. The entire area has nature’s finest temperature and a lush green tropical forest. It’s a soul-touching place for me and a beautiful way of experiencing nature at its finest. If you take a hike to the upper part of the waterfall, you get to enjoy a beautiful view of Togo, enjoy the peace and quiet nature brings and just breathe clean beautiful air.
HOST: How about you, Nii Ayi… a tourist site?
NII AYI: The tourist site I will recommend is the Frederiskgave Slave Plantation in the Ga village of Sesemi near Abokobi. It is a Danish Slave Plantation that served as a typical colonial plantation, which experimented with various crops like coffee, sugar, tobacco, and wine, but as the gains were not forthcoming, the plantation became a health resort for ill Danish public servants from Christiansborg Castle.
HOST: Wow! I’m not familiar with this site. Readers, there is a place to explore near you if you are around the Abokobi area. Thank you all for your time.