The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has announced plans to open a new office at Damongo in the Savanna Region to serve the chiefs, people and hospitality operators of the newly created region.
This follows rehabilitation of GTA’s abandoned office in the region after B&FT reported about the deterioration. Damongo and its surroundings have been noted to be a potential hub for tourism. The area has tourist attractions such as the Mole National Park, Larabanga Mosque, Mystery Stone, Zaina Lodge, Mognori, Eco Village, Ndewura Jakpa Museum, and the Salaga Slave Market as well as a museum.
The Northern Regional Manager for GTA, Ismael Hakeem (Alhaji), said the region needs its own office and not to rely on the Northern Region’s office.
According to him, the tourism industry in the region generates a lot of revenue to the players, communities and the nation – but the current outbreak of COVID-19 has hampered activities, making it difficult for the sector to sustain its growth.
Alhaji Hakeem noted that the office when established would help to monitor tourism activities in the various districts for effective and efficient supervision, since the regional office is far from the districts. “It would also help to curb illegal activities that have been affecting revenue mobilization of the Authority for developmental projects to enhance the promotion of domestic tourism in the region and the country as a whole,” he said.
He stressed that management had to always travel miles to the new regions to embark on routine inspections of the various facilities making it difficult for them.
COVID-19 safety protocols
Touching on the safety protocol of COVID-19, Alhaji Hakeem said measures have been put in place by the Authority to ensure that all adhere to the directives to prevent the spread of the disease. He reiterated that the office has been making efforts in collaborating with the various stakeholders on educating the operators and general public on the pandemic.
He noted that one of the challenges encountered by the office is the encroachment on the land around the Larabanga mosque. “Following the GTA express of interest of getting a receptive center at the mosque, it warrants the encroachment in front of the facility in view of compensation and efforts by GTA to get a tourist receptive center for the people of Larabanga,” he said.
“Unlike the 80s where one could stand far to see the entire mosque, today, it is even worse and this has short foot the development of the mosque and the mystery stone,” he said.