Tap resources for tourism - Consultant
Hohoe, (V/R) Sept. 8, GNA - Mr. William Evans-Anfom, Architect and Environmental Consultant on Wednesday called for a proactive and well-formulated planning scheme to harness the untapped resources in the tourism. He noted that tourism as a prioritised area in the overall developmental programme of the economy needed diversification and expansion to generate more foreign exchange for development. Mr Evans-Anfom was addressing a day's stakeholders' conference at Hohoe to discuss the final draft copy of the tourism land use plan for the Wli Waterfalls tourist site in the Hohoe district. The plan was expected to guide the proper development of the site including guidelines and checklist for monitoring the environmental management performance of the site once the tourism plan got implemented.
The plan, which was also intended to facilitate a practical and sustainable collaboration between policy makers, implementers, developers and the local communities was at the instance of the Ministry of Tourism and modernization of the capital City, the Hohoe District Assembly and the Wli community.
Mr Evans-Anfom stressed the need for environmental consideration in planning to ensure the right balance between the differing and competing requirements of land and other resources, community involvement, desires and needs while maintaining appropriate tourism standards and the anticipated development of the industry.
He said the primary goal of the exercise was to develop tourism on a sustainable basis so that the country's resources are conserved, maintained and improved to promote the development of community based tourism with the view to generating employment and incomes, especially among the rural poor.
He said the document was fashioned by the MT-MCC as a strategic plan for 2003-2007 and an adjunct to the GPRS. Areas of consideration in the document include, human resource development, management and administration, community involvement, development partners, environmental issues, socio-economic concerns and access routes. Mr Edwin Owusu-Mensah, acting Executive Director (Operations) of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), challenged corporate entities, private sector and individuals in the Volta Region to invest in the sector because of the enormous benefits to be gained from doing that. He urged people living around tourist sites to embrace the Alternative Livelihood Schemes in order to sustain and protect those facilities. Mr Charles Obeng, Volta Regional Manager of the GTB observed that unplanned and uncontrolled tourism has a negative repercussion on the economy and local communities leading to loss of tourist market to better planned and competitive destinations elsewhere. He therefore, called for integrated development approaches that would provide a functional and attractive environment. Mr Albert Agrah, Presiding Member of the Hohoe District Assembly commended the consultants for compiling an in-depth data on the tourist potentials of the district setting the tone for their sustainable development.
He said the district abounds in tourist attractions which when harnessed would reduce unemployment rate and create wealth for the people.
Mr Frank Kofigah, Director of Technical Planning of GTB urged stakeholders to be sensitive to the environment and the safety of tourists.