Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has hinted at a potential shift in the country's tourism strategy that could see the rise of "funeral tourism" as a means to bolster the local tourism industry.
While the planned initiative may not sit too well with some industry players, Dr. Awal believes it is a unique opportunity to showcase Ghana's rich culture and traditions to the world.
Outlining his vision for "funeral tourism," Dr Awal emphasized that funerals in Ghana were not just solemn events but vibrant celebrations of life that offered a window into the country's diverse cultures.
According to him, showcasing these traditions will provide an authentic and immersive cultural experience for tourists.
"We will find funerals at places where there are tourist attractions. When they finish the funeral, the people will be served local dishes and drinks including sobolo. So that when we finish, we will bus them to these tourist attractions.
" Ghanaians love funerals, and it’s voluntary. When there is a funeral here, we will announce that we can go to Bonwire. People are selling Kente there, and when they go there, they will spend money.
"We are busing them for free, so when we go to that area, there are restaurants there; they will buy food; they will buy artefacts. They will enrich the local economy. So we will take advantage of funerals to deepen our cultural assets and thereby create jobs for our youth”, he remarked.
Interestingly, the Minister's proposal has not been fully embraced with critics demanding a better approach to it.
In the views of such critics, turning funerals into tourism platforms may risk making commercial a deeply personal and emotional event.
Also, there have been concerns about respecting the wishes and privacy of grieving families.