The potential for tourism growth in Ghana is huge. The country possesses considerable and diverse tourism assets that can be leveraged with tourism support services, infrastructure, marketing, and Ghanaian hospitality to accelerate tourism growth and employment.
Kwahu has not yet been fully explored as a major tourism destination in Ghana. However, its synonymity with Easter and the paragliding activity has opened up immense opportunities for the development of its ecotourism, cultural and heritage tourism, conference and business tourism and leisure tourism in Ghana.
For the Easter association, the celebrations are mainly centered at the three (3) enclosed districts namely Kwahu West, Kwaku East, and South, leaving out the two (2) Kwahu Afram plains districts.
It may however interest you to know that the number of untapped natural tourism attractions present in the Kwahu region alone, can match the numerous identified and developed attractions in most parts of the country. For the avoidance of doubt, let me cite a few for your reference: Padlock Rock/Echo Raven, Nkofieho Warrior’s Cave, Canopy Walkway/877steps, Sacred Okra Kofi Rock, Butuase Waterfall, Bruku god shrine, Roman Catholic Shrine, and Mystic Tomb, etc.
Over the past years, the Kwahu enclave has seen some investments in the tourism sector by individuals who have seen the potential and economic benefits tourism can bring to the citizens. A careful study however points to these investments in either the Hospitality sector and a few attraction developments which are again centered at the three (3) enclosed districts spoken earlier about. I am by no means trying to expound any bias on the part of the investors including the government, but I want to believe these decisions are purely based on the potential for returns on investment.
It may interest you to know that the sustainability of all the investments made in tourism in the West, East, and South especially in the hospitality sector may greatly depend on how well the Afram plains North and South are positioned to attract tourists.
Why am I saying so? Take the current attractions available in the Kwahu enclave, and map it for tourist visitation. It may take a maximum of eighteen hours (18) hours to journey through. Unless it is during the Easter festivities, there aren’t enough facilities far away to “detain’ the tourist over three to five days. For the hospitality industry to thrive, something must keep the tourist to continue staying or visit repeatedly.
I have had the opportunity to work in the two Kwahu Afram plains districts, and I am challenged to write about the tourism potential of these two districts and how it can add to the ultimate dream of positioning Kwahu on the global map of tourism.
Potential tourism areas to consider
Undoubtedly, many people are yet to know that there is even a wide stretch of river in the Kwahu enclave. This was very evident at the surprise expressed by many patrons during a Canoe Racing competition organized by the Kwahu Republic in September 2019 for communities along the Afram River. The Afram river alone is enough resource to develop numerous tourist destination attractions to engage people.
Ada, Keta, Busia, and others are well known because of the waterfront receptive facilities well developed to attract tourists. Throughout the seasons, the Afram river does not dry up, it continues to be a source of livelihood for residents in fish farming and irrigation.
A trip to Agordekeh, Amankwa Tonu, Bruben, Ekye, Harvokope, etc was an eye opener. Serene waterfront with vast land suitable for development into any style of waterfront receptive facility. Imagine coming to Kwahu for holidays, and you drive to Adawso, cross the Afram on a ferry, continue to Agordeke and relax on a beach, served with all the local delicacies you can think of and offered a wonderful chalet to rest. Talk of speed boats, Jet ski, cruise boats, Kayaks, etc, all available to explore. The potential is enormous; we just have to explore.
Additionally, the Afram water did not just create a beach for a potential waterfront receptive facility, it created several islands. Many of them have inhabitants of about 800 engaging in various activities. These are islands that can be developed with various facilities, sold out as packages for would-be tourists. There are two (2) dwarf islands in only Afram plains south, just imagine if much attention and investment is made into it, the potential for economic transformation that would happen in the area.
One may be tempted to assume that all there is in terms of tourism in the Kwahu Afram Plains are the water and its accompanying creations. Once again, just explore, ask and take a step further, you will be amazed. From Maame Krobo to Tease, you would find waterfalls, caves, rock formations, and deep forest reserves that can become potential amusement facilities. Even currently in existence is a game reserve at Donkorkrom being operated by the Wildlife Reserve Commission. Different species of animals are kept for viewing.
Arguably, development in tourism takes time, resources, and a consistent deliberate marketing campaign to make it a household name, but with Kwahu already branded with the Easter Cliché, a lot can be done by leveraging on the Easter brand to develop other untapped sectors.
I strongly believe that the holistic development of tourism in the Kwahu enclave (including the Kwahu Afram Plains) has the potential to put Kwahu on the global map as a preferred tourism destination and not only for Easter. Anyone who thinks of climbing the mountain for leisure should be able to enjoy every bit of leisure, from hiking to kayaking, clubbing to swimming, speed boats to cave adventure, etc. this is the most guaranteed means of “detaining” a tourist for as long as the fun last.
Someone needs to start the process, get more people involved, and take a step forward to ensure the whole Kwahu block is developed in totality when it comes to tourism. This can even extend the Easter celebration to all parts of the region and ensure equity in economic activities.
Picture Credit: Kwahu Republic
>>>The writer is an experienced Sales Operations Management and Marketing professional and an Associate Member of CIM-UK and CIMG with insightful working experience and knowledge in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Tourism Development. [email protected]; Twitter and Instagram: @nanacwamegh