Tafi-Atome (V/R), May 29, GNA - The Tafi-Atome Monkey Sanctuary in the Hohoe District collected 158,000 dollars in revenue from tourists between January 2002 and March 2004 to rank as the best among the 14 Eco-Tourism Projects supported by the US government. The Sanctuary, which has about 200 monkeys, recorded 22,590 visitors last year.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mary Carlin Yates said this on Friday when she formally opened a Visitor Reception Centre at the Sanctuary, which is about 30 minutes drive south of Hohoe.
She said the potential of tourism in the economic development of Ghana's economy was enormous and pledged the support of the United States to develop that sector.
USAID, the Netherlands Development Agency, Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC), a Ghanaian NGO and the Ghana Tourist Board collaborated with the local people to nurture the sanctuary into a modern tourism attraction.
Ms Cynthia Evans, Associate Peace Corp Director, told the Ghana News Agency that within the past nine years, Peace Corp Volunteers attached to the project had trained staff of the sanctuary in financial management, catering, customer services to a level enough to work on their own.
Ms Mawuko Fumey, Eco-Tourism Coordinator of the (NCRC), which provided technical support, said the project had opened up the area, increased economic activity and improved the living conditions of the people.
She said visitors to the sanctuary came mainly from Western Europe, in addition to the local visitors.
Togbe Debra V, Chief of Tafi-Atome, praised their ancestors for preserving the forest over the past century and asked the US Ambassador to support the community to complete a Guest House to accommodate visitors.
Mr Innocent Foli, a tour guide, said bad roads and the absence of a good Guest House were the immediate challenges facing the facility. 29 May 04