The adoption of social media, especially Facebook to market the refurbished Kintampo Waterfalls to the world, boosted tourist traffic at the eco-tourism site at Kintampo in the Bono East Region.
The ‘Year of Return’ for Africans in the diaspora also impacted positively on the number of visitations at the site, located at the middle belt of the country. The number of foreign tourists to the waterfalls nearly doubled in 2019.
The total number of tourists drawn to the Kintampo Waterfalls in 2019 was 23,806. The figure shows a significant increase from the 19,223 tourists that visited the site in 2018. Of the number, 1,982(8.3%) were foreigners as compared to 1,000 foreign sight-seers in 2018. A total of 9,770 students, representing 41%; 8,257 adults (34.7%); and 3,797 children (16%) complete the breakdown of last year’s visitations.
Mr. Bismark Baiden, Site Manager at the Kintampo Waterfalls, in an interview with B&FT said there has been a turnaround since reopening the site in April 2019. This followed renovation that was preceded by an infamous fatal disaster at the site, as well as construction of a suspended canopy walkway at the waterfalls.
The two-line suspended facility is about 100 metres above the water level. The 80 by 90 metre canopy walkway was constructed under a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative. The parties involved are a wholly Ghanaian-owned firm – Bonsu Aboritum Kanopy Walkway Limited; the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA); Kintampo Municipal Assembly; and the Traditional Authorities.
He said: “We have boosted our social media handles, especially Facebook, for people to know what we have in this part of the country. We have also launched our website www.kintampowaterfalls.com for easy contact or enquiry. We have also increased our search-engine optimisation (SEO) on Google, which is helping put the name of the eco-tourism site out there to the world.
“These mechanisms have made huge impacts through marketing and advertising of Kintampo Waterfalls to the world; and also the Year of Return brought in many foreigners who came with Ghanaians counterparts.”
To consolidate the gains and also make the site more attractive on the global tourism map, he said management intends to introduce other innovative steps to attract more tourists. These include email campaigns; SMS campaigns; completion of the ongoing construction of a Zip-line – which is expected by March 2020; make provisions for table tennis and snooker tables; and bouncy castles with pools for children to set the place as a playground for children, he added.
The Kintampo Waterfalls Site Manager further stated that management has been liaising with event organisers to put up concerts with musicians, particularly during public holidays; indicating that last year they organised about five different shows with a number of artists. “Going forward, we will increase the rate at which we bring artists to the site.”
Beyond the Return
In a related development, the Acting Manager of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) in charge of Ahafo, Bono and Bono East, Joseph Appiagyei, told B&FT that it would be incomplete to talk about the slave-trade story of Ghana without including the erstwhile Brong Ahafo Region – adding that there are strategic slave routes, transit sites and markets within the enclave which must be given a facelift, especially access roads to attract tourists.
He mentioned the slave route from Salaga in Northern Ghana to Yeji-Atebubu-Kintampo through the Kunsu slave caves, which was a transit site. There is also the Bono-Manso slave market, Hani slave market in the Tain district, and Sampa slave market in the Jaman North district.
“Bono-Manso was the designated point where the slavemasters were doing sorting, sending the stronger captives to the coast while the weaker ones were left at Bono-Manso. At Hani, some of the relics can be found at the Chief’s Palace,” he said.
He added that a Monkey Sanctuary at Duasidan Village, which is about 10km away from Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Bono Region, has been earmarked for development to enhance eco-tourism. The sanctuary hosts Mona monkeys on living on bamboo trees at a sacred place.