Ebola scare cause low patronage

Art Centre

Scores of traders at the Accra Art Centre, a major local artifacts shopping village, on Tuesday said the Ebola scare had affected the number of tourists who visited the centre, hence the daily sales.

Accra Art CentreThe artifacts shopping village, which trades in fashionable, entertaining and cultural items, traditional furniture, textiles, cloths, leather, jewelry and metals, is gradually losing its customers.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Nana Yaw Asante, a jewelry seller, linked the low patronage to the centre to the Ebola scare and its outbreak in some parts of West Africa.

He said foreigners from Europe and the Americas who used to purchase items from their shops no longer visited due to the fear of contracting the Ebola disease.

?The foreigners are scared of being infected with the disease when they come to Africa and they don?t even mind that Ghanaians are free from Ebola; this rumour has been confirmed by some of our foreign customers,? he said.

Nana Asante said Ghanaians showed little interest in their products and wondered whether they saw them as less valuable.

?For Africa, it is only the Nigerians who come to purchase our items, especially the Kente cloth,? he said.

He said although the artifacts village used to be a tourist centre for many foreigners and Ghanaians, the situation was quite different.

Nana Asante expressed concern about the activities of “Goro boys” who paraded the entrance of the centre ostensibly to lure customers to buy cheap and inferior products.

Mr Asante urged the Government to assist them to advertise and rebrand the centre to attract international patronage.

He advised Ghanaians to patronise items such as bags, shoes, dresses, necklaces, wood carvings, and musical instruments made from local materials to depict the real identity of an African.

Mr Thomas Obeng, who sells wood carvings, urged the Ghana Tourist Board to step-up public education campaign to boost development and patronage of local artifacts and tourists sites.

He called on the Board to educate traders and other stakeholders in the industry to use modern technology to improve their marketing skills.

Mr Obeng said most of the sellers failed to provide email addresses and complimentary cards to foreign customers on demand and this did not augur well for good business.

He, therefore, urged the Government to provide constant formal training, especially in new media, for the sellers to promote trade.



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