Cape Coast, March 1, GNA - The Kakum National Park (KNP) in the Central Region realised about 946.5 million cedis as revenue from gate proceeds in 2003, as against 774 million cedis, realised the previous year. A total of 59,187 persons made up of local and foreign tourists visited the park in 2003 and 76,792 in 2002.
Mr Nkunu Akyea, executive director of the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT), made this known to GNA in an interview on Tuesday, at Cape Coast. According to him, the amount excludes the 42 to 50 per cent of the daily gate proceeds paid to the government. He explained that although more tourists visited the park in 2002, more revenue was realised in 2003, because entry fees to the park was increased that year.
Mr Akyea said at present adult Ghanaian visitors pay 45,000 cedis, students, 15,000 cedis and children pay 10,000 cedis, while their foreign counterparts pay 90,000 cedis, 45,000 cedis and 30,000 cedis respectively. He however, pointed out that, the fees charged, were far below "economic rates", adding that, if management should consider charging economic rates, then entry fees to the park, should be a flat rate of 60, 000 cedis per person.
Mr Akyea said to enhance tourist attractions within the park, sweet berries, cinnamon farms as well as orchards, are being cultivated as a way of ensuring that the berries and cinnamon in particular, do not become extinct. He appealed to the government to reduce its share of proceeds from the park to about 10 per cent to enable management improve upon services rendered to tourists.
On maintenance of the park, he said, last year an amount of 193 million cedis was spent on the maintenance of the canopy walkway, involving the replacement of cables on the walkway, the wood work and most of the ropes fixed at the sides as protection. He said in addition, about 35 million cedis was spent in providing books, clocks and stationery to 29 schools within the park's catchment area.