Tourism accommodation business owners indicated factors such as maintaining lifestyle, being their own bosses, capitalizing on a business opportunity, generation of retirement income influence the decision to own/operate a small tourism accommodation businesses. These variables can be categorized as non-economic and economic factors. It was found that though the owners were motivated by commercial enterprise goals, these are subordinated to the pursuit of socially driven lifestyle motivation factors.
Small tourism accommodation business owners in Ghana perceive the non- availability of skilled hospitality personnel and limited access to structured capitalist training programmed as the greatest challenge facing their industry. Key Words: Ghana, Small Tourism accommodation businesses, motivations, challenges INTRODUCTION Ghana has designated its tourism industry as one of the new growth sectors for economic development, employment generation and poverty reduction in its development framework document (growth and poverty reduction strategy (GAPS II, 2005).
This development framework recognizes the tourism industry in Ghana as a growing, vibrant and dynamic one with a great potential for job creation. Ghana, like many sub-Sahara countries, has primarily an agrarian economy and produces few exportable services. Tourism has been identified as one area that can bring improvements in the services sector of the economy. In recent years there has been an expansion of investments in the tourism industry, especially the small tourism accommodation businesses sector.
The total number of registered tourism accommodation businesses in Ghana as at 201 2 was 1,838. Compared to 420 and 1992. Of the 1838 hotel stock as at 2012, 69% can be classified as small tourism accommodation enterprises based on guestroom capacity of 15. Currently tourism is the fourth-largest foreign-exchange earner in Ghana after old and cocoa and foreign remittances. International tourist arrivals rose from 698,069 in 2008 to 1 in 201 1 with corresponding receipts from ISIS 1. 4 Billion to CSS$ 2. Billion respectively, while direct and indirect jobs created by the sector increased from 234, 679 to 330, 514 during the period (GTAG, 2012). The government of Ghana acknowledges that accommodation businesses sector is an important part Of the Ghana tourism industry (NNTP, 1995) and has identified tourism accommodation businesses as catalysts for tourism development and by extension for the economic growth of the country as he industry is a major source of income and employment. The accommodation business sector in Ghana is 1 00 percent private sector owned and it characterized by many independent businesses.
According to a recent survey, 69% of all tourism accommodation businesses in Ghana have less than 15 guestrooms and 88% of all tourism 2223-XX Copyright: 0 2014 AUGHT – Open Access- Online @ http//: accommodation businesses have less than 25 guestrooms and only 3 percent of these tourism accommodation businesses have more than 50 rooms (Mechanics, 2011; GET, 2012). The tourism accommodation businesses landscape fleets a large number of lower rated businesses, especially those in the budget category, 68%, which are typically small family owned and operated establishments.
The rapid growth in the number of small tourism accommodation businesses in Ghana and the role they play in the promotion of tourism makes it imperative for a better understanding of the drivers in the sector. Interestingly, worldwide the tourism and hospitality industries are characterized by many small firms but generally, research in the tourism accommodation business sector has focused mostly on large tourism accommodation business chains. Invariably, not much research attention has been given to small independent especially those in developing countries such as Ghana.
Although there is a growing body of high quality small business literature, much of it is general and few studies have focused on small businesses (Thomas, 1998). Majority of research on small firms has focused on the personal attributes, motivations and practices of entrepreneurs and other economic and socio-demographic factors that affect small firms in general. It IS generally acknowledged that sector differences play an important part in explaining the operations of small genuineness (Thomas, 1 998) and the tourism accommodation business sector will benefit from such recognition with a sector focused research.
Whiles many tourism accommodation businesses in Ghana can generally be classified as small firms, they have peculiar characteristics that need to be given an adequate amount of attention if we are to get a better understanding of how they operate. This paper examines the motivations and challenges of small tourism accommodation business owners in Ghana to get better understanding of these factors. The outcome of the research will offer policy makers insights can influence heir support programmed for an efficient development of the tourism industry.
LITERATURE REVIEW Defining Small Tourism accommodation businesses Morrison (1996) argues that traditionally the tourism industry has been dominated by small businesses and this still remains true. Globally, a common feature of businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry is that greater percentages, (95 percent), are small firms (See, Curran 1 996; Lassies and Rawson, 2006). This assertion holds in Ghana where 97 percent of all tourism firms are classified as small (NNTP, 2012).
Small tourism accommodation businesses re a component of small tourism and hospitality firms, which can be classified as small businesses. However, what constitutes a small business is a major challenge in the SEEM (small and medium enterprises) literature (Curran & Storey, 1993). This is acknowledged by Morrison, (1996) who states that the term small business; is a difficult one to define. To date, there is no agreement in the literature about how small firms should be defined.
The heterogeneity of small firms, their characteristics and global variety has led to it being defined in several ways. Storey (1994) concluded that there is no ingle, uniformly acceptable definition of a small firm. Several researchers have made significant efforts at defining small firms (See for example, Marked 1983; Gangly 1 985; Curran and Blackburn 1 991 ; GOES 1991; storey 1 994; Thomas 1 AAA, Addressed 1 999; Decker, Schaefer and Blander, 2006) but there is no consensus on these definitions. Existence of the numerous definitions of small firms has been attributed to the failure of most research to adequately identify the nature Of small firms leading to 2 various definitions being used in different research contexts. Storey (1994) is of the IEEE that these various groundedњ define actions have been used according to the particular sector, geographic or other contexts in which the small firm is being examined. Curran et al. 1986:3) refer to the “great deal of agonizing over the issue of definition by small businesses by researchers such as Bolton (1971 Banks and Cone (1983); and Curran and Stonewort (1 984), from which no satisfactory solutions have emerged”. One reason for such diverse definitions relates to size and sector differences of small firms. Definitions at sector level which relate quantitative measures Of size, such as number of employees, sales remover, profitability and net worth, may mean that in some sectors all firms may be regarded as small, while in other sectors there are possibly no firms which are small.
Burns (2001, p 8) argues, “being a small firm is not just about size defined in simple statistical terms and that small firms also have other important defining characteristics”. These need to be considered to have a full appreciation of a small firm. Existing literature on tourism and hospitality are not clear on definitions of small tourism and hospitality firm leading to various definitions being considered by various researches.
Curran & Storey (1993) in making a case for defining small tourism and hospitality firms differently, stated that though studies of small firms in the tourism and hospitality industry reflect a liberal usage of the term small firma to that found in the general small business literature it is important to highlight the principal features of these definitions as they affect tourism and hospitality firms. There is the opinion that service firms are better understood if their distinctiveness from manufacturing firms is recognized (Voss et al. 1988). The definition of small tourism and hospitality firms Hereford must be informed by a consideration of what makes small tourism and hospitality firms different from other small enterprises. The above notwithstanding, in developing a definition for small tourism and hospitality firms, which includes small (STABs), it is important that the definition be both comparable to other industries, while at the same time reflecting the unique characteristics of the tourism and hospitality industry (Morrison and Conway 2007).
Beaver (2002) is of similar view and states that small firm definitions may need to incorporate the specific nature and context of respective industrial sectors if they are to be meaningful. Although defining small tourism and hospitality firms along tangible measures such as number of rooms and employees are essential, the intangible and qualitative features inherent in small firm ownership and management in general and at sector levels also needs some consideration if a meaningful definition is to be derived (Burns, 2001).
Such intangible and qualitative features include lifestyle business motivations that have been identified in relation to micro and small-scale tourism firms (Locker and Morrison, 1999; Buick et al. , 2000; Get and Carlson, 2000; Kampala, 2004). From this perspective, qualitative social rewards may be priorities over those of a quantitatively defined economic nature (Appleton et al. , 2004). Thus, Morrison and Conway (2007) argue that any meaningful definition of small tourism and hospitality firms need the recognition, justification and combination of the associated quantifiable and qualified features.
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