The Okere District Assembly in the Eastern Region in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has planted 500 tree seedlings at the Asenema Falls.
The initiative is to boost domestic eco-tourism drive and provide employment to the youth as the United Nations World Tourism Day is marked.
The United Nations World Tourism Day ( UNWTO ) seeks to create awareness of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic contribution to national and international economies through gross domestic product growth, jobs and employment.
Tourism is among the first five contributing sector to Ghana’s GDP.
But the sector has suffered setback since the emergence of Covid-19.
Figures from the Ghana Tourism Authority indicate domestic participation took a nose dive from 600,000 in 2019 to 200,00 in 2020.
The nation lost on gains as US$3.3 billion from 1.3 tourist travels shot down to two thirds in 2020, depressing the tourism value chain indicators.
To revive the tourism sector, the Ghana Tourism Authority is pushing a domestic tourism drive agenda to make tourism an inclusive growth, hence the partnership with the Okere District Assembly.
The Okere District Assembly in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority planted 500 tree seedlings made up of three species: Prekese , Rosewood and mahogany and other ornamental plants for a therapeutic effect and provide medical benefit to patrons who visit the Asenama Falls.
The Okere District Chief Executive (DCE), Daniel Nana Addo Kenneth, believes the planting
of the tree seedlings at the Asenema Falls will improve the eco tourism site, be resilient against non-climate stressors and provide jobs for the teeming youth.
“One of the major factors that would lead our local economy is tourism. We are strategically planting the 500 tree seedlings to conserve the eco tourism site and, as well, provide jobs. Several youth have been engaged to plant ornamental trees in some sections of the district already. We are also adding the Okere Gari, this is to promote the gari produced here by our own people.”
He added the District is endowed with heritage and historical sites such as the Abonse Slave Market, the Aperade Mystical Stone used in the war against the Akwamus, the wonders of Okomfo Anokye among others.
“We are longing to bring immense measurable investment and development hence job creation using the Asenama Falls as a fulcrum.”
The Eastern Region Minister, Seth Acheampong, who planted the ceremonial tree, described the initiative as a revolutionary drive towards domestic tourism and urged residents to support the Okere District to become a tourism hub in the region.
“We can only be happier to live around our own environment. We have seen another step to greening our region. I commend the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Okere District for this feat chalked.”
The Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Frederick Adjei-Rudolph, said unlocking the potential of tourism ecosystem can deliver more inclusive and sustainable growth in traditionally marginalized communities with huge potentials like the Okere District.
“Everything about tourism starts from the local level. Let’s take Asenema Waterfalls for example, if 100 people come here, they will do so in a car. When they get here they have to eat. If they decide to sleep over, they will do so in a hotel. So that is why we are saying that this year is actually for the locality, how they will benefit from tourism and that is tourism inclusive growth. There is no way they would not have anything to do when their tourism products are thriving, so we are engaging most of the district assemblies that have got tourism as one of their priorities to help them identify the site. If there is need for its development, we see where we can come in. If there is the need for promotion, we are going to use all our websites and social media sites to help them market it.”
The Tourism Authority Regional Director spoke about a number of policy interventions made to complement international efforts.
“Ghana is desirous of complementing international efforts of revival through many policy interventions, namely digitalization of products and services on the National Tourism Single Window Destination Project, sites upgrade, promotion and marketing drives and aggressive revitalization of domestic and regional tourism.”
This year’s theme for the United Nations World Tourism Day, to be celebrated on September 27, 2021, is: ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.
This is to encourage participatory tourism approach to create and share tourism wealth for poverty reduction, improve decency in living standards and livelihood security and deliver on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goal.
By Yvonne Neequaye|3news.com|GhanaRead Full Story