THE Brong Ahafo Region, which is considered as the bread basket of the country, also abounds in several tourist sites. If the sites are well developed, they could boost the local economy, create jobs and help reduce poverty in the region.
However, the tourism sector in the region is underdeveloped. The region can also boast of several eco-tourism sites, some of which are natural waterfalls, sacred grooves, colonial graveyards, slave route/transit points and many others that are underdeveloped.
To compound the problem is the low standard of service provided by some hospitality facilities in some parts of the region.
Other problems confronting the tourism sector in the region are poor tourism services (undocumented information) on historic and other eco-tourism sites offered by operators in the hospitality industry, poor environmental and sanitary conditions, inadequate utility services and a general lack of local initiatives in the tourism sector.
It is against this backdrop that Adars FM, a Kintampo-based private radio station, sought for funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund to promote tourism in the region through public sensitisation, capacity building for public-private partnerships (PPP) and advocacy to help develop the sector, which could contribute to the socio-economic development of the region.
The advocacy programme was also to encourage and sensitise tourism sector development players/investors to invest in their communities through the PPP, based on learning experiences from the Central Region, where the sector is well developed to help package and market the tourist sites in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The Project Co-ordinator for the initiative to promote the tourism industry in the region, Mr Daniel Wiafe Akenten, said his station decided to undertake the advocacy to impress upon the public and private actors in the region to collaborate to develop the various tourist sites for their mutual benefits.
He told the Daily Graphic in an interview that during the advocacy programme, sites that had been neglected or underdeveloped when given the needed attention, could enhance local economic development for the municipalities and districts that were endowed with those resources as well as for the region as a whole.
Mr Akenten mentioned such new tourist sites that were in a similar state as the Nante Waterfalls and Ampoma Gyambibi Shrine in the Kintampo South District, the Wenchi Waterfalls in the Wenchi Municipality, Kunsu Slave Caves in the Kintampo North Municipality and the Techiman Natural Bridge in the Techiman Municipality.
Others are the Bantantwe/Mansra Clay Powder and Kokuma Waterfalls all in Kintampo.
Some of the tourist attractions, such as the Kintampo Waterfalls, Kintampo Fuller Waterfalls, Geographical Centre of Ghana, British Cemetery, also in the Kintampo North Municipality, as well as the Fiema/Buabeng Monkey Sanctuary at Nkoranza, the late Prof K.A. Busia’s Mausoleum in the Wenchi Municipality, coupled with the Kuribi festival of the Wangaras in Kintampo, the Yam festivals celebrated by the various traditional areas in the region, when developed, could make the tourism sector one of the highest income earner for the region.
“If the above-mentioned tourist sites are to be well-developed, then one can confidently say that the Brong Ahafo Region is one of the best tourist destinations in the country,” Mr Akenten observed.
He, therefore, made a passionate appeal to all stakeholders to partner the various municipal and district assemblies and the government, for that matter, to help develop the sector to boost the local economy.
The project co-ordinator also called for the establishment of a Tourism Commission to collaborate with the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) to help boost the tourism sector in the region.
He stressed the need for all municipal and district assemblies endowed with tourism resources within the region to take up the responsibility to develop their tourist sites.
Mr Akenten also called for the development of a framework for public-private partnerships for the tourism industry to be used as a catalyst for their socio-economic advancement.