CEDECOM to develop a holistic tourism industry
Mr. Spencer Taylor, Executive Director of the Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM), on Friday pledged the commitment of his outfit to develop all aspects of the tourism sector into a holistic industry.
Consequently, the handicraft, hospitality and all other aspects of the industry will be given the needed attention with their potentials developed to the fullest through public-private partnership.
Mr. Taylor said this would enable the region to derive the maximum benefits from the sector to ensure poverty reduction.
He gave the assurance at the closing of a one-week training workshop for craftsmen, mainly kente and basket weavers, wood-cavers, batik, tie/dye producers and beads and ceramic makers at the Abrafo Handicraft Village near the Kakum National Park.
The aim was to build the capacity of the participants to produce quality handicrafts that can compete on both the local and international markets.
Mr. Taylor underscored the importance of quality and well packaged handicrafts to the growth of the tourism industry and said CEDECOM was in consultation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to develop the handicraft village at Abrafo into a first class centre where quality and unique craft-works would be produced.
He said it was also in consultation with the Business Development Service (BDS) Fund to source soft loans for the craftsmen.
He urged them to form associations to enable them to benefit from the fund, share experiences and seek the welfare of members.
Mr. Taylor said the association, when formed, could also enable CEDECOM's micro-finance section to purchase tools and other basic machinery to support the craftsmen.
He said it was the Commission's vision to engage tourist who visited the region for longer periods to have a feel of how kente, beads, necklaces and other handicrafts were produced at the Handicraft Village.
He said those interested would be encouraged to take part in its production for a fee.
On the hospitality industry, Mr. Taylor said the Commission had plans to give it a facelift and that it would encourage private operators to build hotels, restaurants and rest stops along the route to the Kakum National Park to prolong the stay of tourists in the region.
Another area to be given attention was the Fosu Lagoon area in Cape Coast which would be developed into a first class tourists' site.
Mr. Taylor said the area would have beach front hotels and restaurants with the provision facilities such as boats for tourists interested in cruising.
Mrs. Ama Nicole Abraham, Head of Tourism Development Department (TDD) of CEDECOM, said handicraft was an important component of tourism that could generate much income for poverty reduction and therefore it must be given the needed boost.
She said the training programme was to enable the participants to sharpen their skills and combine ideas and expertise to produce unique products that would be highly marketable.
Mrs. Abraham urged participants to move into the craft village, which had been lying idle, to make the place vibrant for tourists to patronize their wares.
Mr. Daniel Quaynor, a Resource Person, said resources abounded in the region and there was the need for producers to make quality goods that would attract ready market in and outside the country.