Developing authentic foodservices to support the development of tourist attractions in Ghana.
Foodservice outlets have the potential to enhance the experience of visitors to a wide range of visitor\ud attractions. As such introducing authentic foodservice outlets could potentially play significant role in the\ud development of cultural-heritage and natural attractions in Ghana. Consuming local traditional foods leave nostalgic, memorable feelings, which create 'golden locations' and in turn encourage repeat visits and increase visitor traffic at these locations. The foodservice sector has however, been supported in Ghana generally and has been largely ignored at visitor attractions. In situations where foodservice outlets are limited, visitors can potentially find themselves unable to purchase any refreshments at the attractions. This detracts from their experience and discourages repeat visits. The main aim of this thesis is critically to evaluate the integration of foodservice at Ghanaian visitor attractions and to identify a suitable\ud approach for developing authentic foodservice outlets at the sites. This thesis derived data from both secondary and primary research. With the lack of available data and\ud records on Ghanaian visitor attractions and foodservice operations, the primary data collection exercise used a mixed-method approach in a two-Phase study over a one-year period. An exploratory survey of visitor attractions and foodservice operations in the research area, which also involved focus groups (n=56) and individual (n=6) interviews, within the academia and with stakeholders of tourism and foodservice sectors. Based on the findings of the Phasel study, the Phase2 study, involved a visitor\ud survey (n=528) at six selected visitor attractions. A follow-up interview was conducted with attractions and foodservice personnel (n=24) at the attractions where the survey was conducted. The findings of the research have confirmed that the Ghanaian tourism industry has overlooked\ud foodservice sector in the development of tourism and particularly at visitor attractions. It also established\ud the importance of foodservice as part of the overall experiences at visitor attractions. It proposes independent! multi-owned/ franchises as the best alternative approaches for developing and integrating\ud authentic foodservice outlets with Ghanaian visitor attractions. Therefore, the study proposes introducing\ud formally trained staff to the informal traditional foodservice outlets to develop authentic foodservice\ud outlets at visitor attractions as a positive way to support the tourism industry in Ghana. It also suggests that the proposals made to address the current situation in Ghana may be applicable to other countries in Africa seeking to develop sectors of their economies and be of interest to the relevant and the international bodies such as UNWTO, UNDP, and UNEP who seek to promote the development of sustainable tourism practices.
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