Since writing this article in 2005, and recently visiting Ghana , I have observed many changes which seems to be a huge improvement to the questions I asked sometime back by playing the devil advocate in my efforts to finding a solution to the problems at our Airports.
Ghana is becoming the gateway to many African countries,? as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic?? and other foreign airlines choose Ghana for their bread and butter flights.
This is of course a great business opportunities for Ghana? Why are we not cashing in on these opportunities at all by using various marketing strategies we know?
We need to increase the number of restaurants at our airport.? Why are we not selling the palm wines, organically grown pineapple juice mixed with orange and other locally grown fruit juice other than us selling Coca-Cola at our Airport?
Is the Coca-Cola Company willing to build public toilets around our airports, city centres and villages as part of their social responsibility?? Surely, they should be working with the Zoomilion Company to put litterbins in all public areas.? What have the market leader in soft drinks done to improve sanitation problems other than adding to our problems.
Why then do we encourage this sale everywhere and shun our own locally organic fruits that would give us some nutritional value and thus kicking some forms of cancers from our bodies. Forgetting that we no longer have? free dental services in schools which was once piloted by our late President Nkrumah at Accra New experimental school. Why are we not making coconut drink mix with pineapple but instead drinking Coca-Cola at all our important celebrations? Who is making the huge profits? Why can?t we sell our own locally grown organic fruit juice in cartons at our airport by using dispensable vending machines? Why don?t we encourage the customers to take charge of their spending while waiting to board their flights?
Alternatives,? it might be worth having? caf??s with chairs and tables and sell fresh coconut fruit juices and cocktail which could be sold in the coconut mixing perhaps pineapple juice plus orange juice or mango into the coconut. Mango chutney is something we need to try out marketing in Ghana as we a variety of mango farms in the country.? The Indians are brilliant at? this product and we? should tapping into this area and develop this? new markets.
Our football players are becoming International Icons in the Western societies but then why are we not cashing in by selling T shirts and other memorabilia at our Airports? This is happening.
Do we provide all staff working at our Airport a compulsory quality customer training and following all the 10 principles of Marketing? It seems some training is on going by observation and staff approach to customers these days.
This is an area we lack and therefore leave ourselves vulnerable to be labelled a third world country because we are letting ourselves down.
Why are there no ceiling funs in the hall in which travellers pick up their luggage? Indeed today we have air-conditioned waiting rooms. This is an excellent improvement at our airport.
Does our international airport staff need quality customer care service training as they are the ones that sell Ghana to everyone who enters the country by that route? This seems to be happening.
Entering into the main hall way at our Airport – what does one see?? Many tourists sites could be? displayed by travel and tour operators and? profits from purchase space for promotional material could be utilise the money in further improvement area the toilets and baby friendly areas for travelling mothers parents.
Is Ghana cashing in on these advantages of the foreign airlines on our soil? If yes what?s happening to demonstrate this efforts?
In enhancing and raising the profile of our Airport why can?t we employ at least 8 Ghanaians interior designers from Ghana / international to bid for the contract to? redesign our Airport?
I observed that there have been significant changes at our Airport however more input is needed.? As I pointed out with 8 top African interior designers with a flare for quality standards this would transform our Airport to differentiate us from others. We have seen a significant improvement having our taxi drivers in uniforms and registering their vehicles. Thanks to the initiative of the Minister who introduced it.
Next step, perhaps training all our airport staff including the cleaners about first aid and resuscitation procedures and manual handling or have an ambulance standing by in case of health emergency?
Leaving of loose coins to charity for example, our main hospital in Accra,? Korle- Bu Teaching hospital which rather is languishing with no beds, no bed sheets for patients, we could turn the situation into a positive one when we start collecting loose change from everyone leaving the country.
This can be achieved by putting huge fashionable container in the waiting areas so the travellers give away their loose coins for a good worthy cause as proceeds could be used towards improving basic services at Korle ? Bu Teaching Hospital and other polyclinics in Accra.
Why are we not cashing in and allowing travellers to leave our country with all their loose coins. Some Airports are using various strategies for example selling raffle tickets to raise money for good a cause. For example, we could use such money to renovate or improve our country.
Why are we travelling all over the world and yet, failing to pick up tips from the Airports of those countries that we visit? I guess we have also started this tactics.
There is no need for Ghana to ask for loans and aids any longer, instead using simple strategies of this nature would go a long way if carefully planned.
This is an area we lack the expertise and might need help to getting to know certain strategies on money making on our own soil of Ghana. Pencils, erasers, mugs marked with where it is made on sale at our airports to promote villages, cities and the rural areas.
Ghanaians let us stop the partying and concentrate of making a difference for the children of the current coming generation.? These children do need people with a clear vision and focus in life so that they would use us as a springboard for their future.
I look forward to seeing whether our new international airport would also have huge posters for example? ?The Bongo and Tongo Hills? in the North to entices travellers to travel North too.
Finally, in order to highlight the different languages in Ghana it might be worth while exploring to use a display of local greetings?? ?Welcome greetings from all our regions and not just one greeting e.g? Akwaaba.
We should allow travellers into our country to ask questions and for example: Meaning of our greetings. It is so unique just taken for granted.
Kumasi _ Akwaaba:Welcome
Volta region:? Woezo
Northern region: Sannu da Zuma
Ga:? Aatwotwo and others.
On the whole we have improved in many areas however still need to work on these hidden areas that escape travellers and us are constantly reminding us of. Let?s work with the travellers and travel operators in our country thus improving the quality of services and standards.
We all need to pull together and discuss issues openly in non-threatening manner that would foster growth, build Ghana thus distinguishing our identity in the rest of Africa.