Festival tourism is a rapidly growing model of tourism on which many nations are capitalizing to shore up the benefits of tourism. Festival tourism is however usually distinguished from other occasions because of their tendency to take their significance and validity from people’s ethnic uniqueness and help to delineate its meaning.
Moreover, the festival displays bring about a strong appreciation of the historic design and landscape of a place. Festival tourism is a key player in ensuring sustainability of local economic growth and has been recognized as “an emerging giant”. Among other things, festival tourism helps to build communities and cities through the opportunities it provides. These include the impact they make on a community’s local economy, socio-cultural image as well as infrastructural landscape.
However, most of these festivals are celebrated by the local citizenry and are not linked to tourism possibly because of inability of the organizers to structure the tour package into the festival or a poor understanding of the linkage between the two as well as the potential benefits accruable to the local community and the nation.
The Kwahu region learnt itself to tourism from as early as towards the end of the slave trade in 1828 in the 19th century when the European Missionaries from Switzerland namely the Basel Missionaries identified the mountainous region as ideal for habitation and for missionary work. The region fast became the resort of many Europeans who came into the Gold Coast to ply their trade and has since been preferred by most Europeans because the region is serene.
In 1975, McWilliam and Kwabena Poh described the landscape of one of their towns- Abetifi as “the Switzerland of West Africa, with nights as cool as May nights in Europe”. It is easy to see why the Kwahu region became a growing attraction to most foreigners and nationals as well.
The Kwahu region is home to several clusters of mountains which have earned it the local accolade “Beposo” meaning the hill. In addition to this, the Kwahu festival is celebrated in the Obomeng, Mpraeso, Twenedurase, Aduamoah, Abetifi, Pepease areas and their environs.
Thus, whiles the festival may be localized in the Kwahu area, it nevertheless has economic and social ramifications on hotels and other related businesses in Accra as most tourists light off first in Accra before proceeding to the festival. Some of these tourists also take up residence in the Accra hotels and shuttle to the festivals.
Hence it is crucial for businesses in Accra that the Kwahu festival is successful. Kwahu Easter festival has now taken a national and international dimension due to the touristic activities such as paragliding which have been introduced into the festival. The Easter celebration in Kwahu has become a recurring event that possesses such significance in terms of tradition, attractiveness, image, or publicity, that the event provides the host venue, community, or destination with a competitive advantage and has over the period provided and become inseparable with the Kwahu township.
The Easter celebration has identified with the spirit or ethos of Kwahu and become synonymous with the name of the place. Most Kwahu towns such as Twenedurase, Aduamoah, Mpraeso, Obomeng, Atibie, Nkwatia, etc have never been the same following Kwahu Easter celebrations. The social, economic, physical, and perhaps most importantly the political fiber of Kwahu keeps evolving.
The theme for the 2022 Easter Festival celebration is Exploring Tourism Opportunities and potentials for inclusive growth for National Development. The four (4) days of Kwahu Easter festivity are usually staged by the various local communities, associations, and organizations to celebrate an occasion or commemorate some unique aspects of the people of Kwahu.
The festivity is marked by celebrations, relaxation, and touristic recreation activities throughout Kwahu. Due to the paragliding event component, the Easter celebration is usually themed every year to resonate with the spirit of the festival.
The artistic content of the festival is usually religious or ritualistic with programs such as rituals, rites, singing, dancing, and sports. In addition to the above, tour attractions are exploited and marketed as cross-products during the celebration and attractions such as “Bruku Rock, Nkofieho Cave, Stone Age Park, and The Afram Lake among others. The Kwahu Easter festival has a lot of side attractions.
On the economic benefits that the Ester festivity and attractions bring to the nation, Ghana can boast of the fact that this yearly festival attracts tourists and provide income-earning opportunities for local citizens. Easter celebration in Kwahu has a long history with the inhabitants and traditional communities