Keeping Tourist Sites Safe: Upper West Stakeholders Trained on New LI


The Upper West Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Moses Ndebugri, said more tourists could be attracted to the region as it is socio-politically and economically stable.

Mr Ndebugri, who added that potential travelers always look for stable areas when making their travel plans, answered questions from citizens during an orientation and training workshop for tourism sector actors on Monday last.

The day’s training workshop on the new legislative instrument (LI 2393) that will regulate tourist site operations in Wa attracted traditional authorities, opinion leaders, security personnel, as well as participants from the tourism and hospitality industry, the media, the Center for National Culture, assembly members, heads of departments and lecturers.

It was organized by the GTA under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to gather their views and share their knowledge on how to develop and boost the tourism potential of the region.

LI 2393 passed in 2019 mandated the GTA to make all tourist sites safe and attractive to reinforce the drive to make the sector a major employer and revenue generator.

Rich history

The region, considered the home of the xylophone and other musical instruments, also has tourist attractions such as slave trade and wildlife sites, captivating architecture, and scenic areas that need to be enhanced.

It lies in the savannah and is bounded by Burkina Faso to the north and east and to the south by the Upper East and North regions respectively. The languages ​​spoken are Sissala, Dagaare, Brifo, Wali and Lobi.

The major axes of trans-Saharan trade converge on the region, while Islam is the religion mainly practiced in the cities. The regional capital, Wa, is dotted with mosques, including the ancient Sudanese mosques of Nakore and Dondoli.

Mr. Ndebugri stressed the need to take care of the environment to protect the various tourist sites, asking, “If the environment continues to degrade massively, what is the future of tourist sites in the country?”
Historic places of considerable interest to tourists in the region include the remnant of the slave defense wall at Gwollu, 70 kilometers north of Wa. “One of the many remnants of the 300-year-old slave trade, the wall, was built by Kuoro Limann to defend the natives against slavers,” Mr Ndebugri said.


The Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary is one of many area attractions

The traditional cuisine consists of different types of dishes such as tumpani, kpogulu and especially tuo zafi with bheri jieri, yogi vaari or kpunkpun vaari soup. Moreover, the locally brewed drink, pito, is suitable for all times and all kinds of people.

Tourism, Mr Ndebugri said, has the potential to improve the livelihoods of local people through major festivals including Dumba, Kobine, Kakube and Paragbiele, while a variety of traditional dances and music abound.

The area, he said, was also home to a variety of crafts which included spinning, weaving and smock design, blacksmithing, pottery and carving.

Mr Ndebugri called for more investment in social amenities and infrastructure such as tarred roads as this would open up ecotourism attractions such as Wa Naa Palace, Gwollu Slave Defense Wall, Hippo Sanctuary of Wechiau and the Gbele resource reserve.

He described the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary as a unique community project and haven for hippos, reptiles and birds. The sanctuary, located in the northeast corner of the region, protects and preserves the environment of a 40 kilometer stretch of the Black Volta.

Mr Ndebugri said, “There is a need to have effective collaboration between stakeholders to help with forest and animal conservation and preserve sites for tourism development.”

Regulation of tourist sites

A communication expert from the Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP), Tanko Zakaria Musah, said the government has enacted LI 2393 to mainstream it into the national development agenda.

He said the move was aimed at focusing on developing the tourism sector as part of plans to diversify the economy away from traditional industries such as the gold, cocoa and oil industries on which it depended. strongly. Mr. Musah added that the idea was to encourage, develop and involve Ghana in the development of tourism.

He said that as part of measures to increase tourism’s share of gross domestic product (GDP), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched a $10 million grant from the World Bank in June this year. year to support small and medium-sized businesses and improve tourism and hospitality. industry. “The idea now is to increase the share of tourism in GDP,” he said.

To enhance the attractiveness of the sites, the director in charge of standards and quality assurance, Alex Boakye, called for the employment of well-trained staff to provide the required services to tourists visiting the sites.

“A governing body of a tourist site should include at least one representative from the GTA, MMDAs and traditional authority who will manage the site in accordance with international best practice and existing conventions,” he said.

He said that the country has three categories of tourist sites, namely natural sites such as waterfalls, national parks, beaches, mountains and caves; man-made sites not intended to be tourist sites such as castles, forts, slave markets, historic garden and gallery; and man-made sites intended to be tourist sites such as safari parks, craft centers, heritage sites and cultural centers, among others.

A research, monitoring and evaluation (RME) manager, Spencer Doku, advised that all sites should be registered with the GTA and their licenses should be renewed annually.

To attract investors to the sector, he also asked them to be creative enough in undertaking aggressive promotion and displaying their unique cultural values ​​so that their customers enjoy their stay, take data records very seriously and promptly submit their financial state.


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