Tourism, like in any country in the world, is one of the avenues to create large amounts of revenue for development. Ghana is no exception to this assertion. Tourism should not be limited to its basic and traditional definition. Any avenue that is created for people to have fun can properly fit into the scope of tourism.They include recreational parks, botanical gardens, playgrounds etc. In 2015, tourism contributed some GH4.5 billion Ghana cedis to the country’s economy. This figure is projected to double by the year 2027, if a lot of work is done to improve the sector.(Joy News,2015)
Some of the importance of tourism for a country includes; employment for workers in local communities, growth in the service sector, source of economic growth, recreation amongst others.
Talk of recreation, it is very healthy for people in a country to have a space where they can go and enjoy the benefits of the natural environment. Ghana can only boast of a few recreational parks. These few recreational parks are under-utilised and some have been abandoned by the people in-charge of its care and maintenance.
One of such recreational parks is the Efua Sutherland Children’s park. It is located in the heart of the capital city of Ghana.
Efua Sutherland Children’s park harbours the memories of many children including myself. A recreational centre built for encouraging leisure, also serves as a place where parents can take their children during holidays for relaxation. On the other hand, parents also got to cool off after a busy working week. This park was named after a notable woman, Theodora Efua Morgue Sutherland who was an author, playwright among other things and an ardent lover of children.
Back in the day, the park was noted for programs like ‘’by the fire side’’ kidafest, kyekye kulee and other children programs. My childhood memories are filled with swinging on the swing, see-sawing, merry go round among others. Meeting and interacting with other children my age was such fun.
It also served as a stress reliever for people of the working class and people from all social classes. All one had to do was just get to the entrance, pay an amount as gate fee and have all the fun they wanted till an appointed closing time. It was a place where both children and adults were eager to visit.
Sadly, Our beloved children’s park has been reduced from a playground to a business
centre. An article by African Urbanism shows how the park is busy during weekdays due to business activities other than its intended purpose and empty on weekends. This is a clear indication that our recreational centre is being rented out to organisations for business programs. The average Ghanaian family can no longer have a family’s day out or a picnic as a result of the dilapidated nature of the park.
Several news outlets have expressed their disdain for this subject. Our children’s park needs a complete renovation. If we want to develop tourism in Ghana, we must firstly change our attitude towards our tourist sites and embrace a maintenance culture that makes the welfare of these attraction sites a priority. Also, the relatively smaller and unpopular attraction sites should be properly marketed and consistently renovated.
Let us start with our beloved Children’s park.