GHANA: New manual promotes ecotourism

Ghana wants to make ecotourism a mainstay of its national economy. This is the purpose of the publication, on February 1, 2022 in the capital Accra, of a manual on ecotourism. The 90-page document produced by the Forestry Commission of Ghana, provides basic information on the ecotourism potential of the West African country, the main institutions in the sector as well as their respective missions. “In accordance with the government’s digitization programme, each tourist site listed in this handbook has a Quick Response (QR) code which, when scanned on a phone, takes the reader directly to the tourist destination’s website “, explains Samuel Abu Jinapor, Ghanaian Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.

The Ghanaian government views ecotourism as an effective economic incentive for the conservation and protection of ecosystems and biodiversity. The activity generates income that contributes to the growth of the national economy. This is the case in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda and Zambia. In 2019, Najib Balala, Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, reported that ecotourism revenue was $1.61 billion. And without the travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, these revenues would have increased by an average of 6% per year over the next 10 years, according to the 2017 edition of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report. annual evaluation.

A problem of inconsistency?

It is clear that with the publication of the Ecotourism Handbook, Ghana wants to capitalize on its forestry and wildlife potential. Yet some of the government’s commitments do not support this idea.

In a second tweet dated February 11, 2021, Leonardo Dicaprio, the heroine of the famous film Titanic, calls on the Ghanaian government to ensure the protection of the Atewa forest. In the 2-minute video that accompanies his tweet, the world-renowned actor gives key figures on the Atewa Forest, before recalling that it is one of the irreplaceable places on Earth that guarantees the maintenance of the planet. desire. Located 95 km northeast of the capital Accra, the 725 km2 The forest reserve is home to over 1,000 species of plants, 230 species of birds, 570 species of butterflies and over 50 species of mammals, most of which are endangered.

Read also-GHANA: Atewa Forest Reserve threatened by bauxite mining

Leonardo Dicaprio’s concerns are based on the Ghanaian government’s constant desire to exploit nearly 165 million tonnes of bauxite covered by the mountain forest. A significant deposit which was the subject of an agreement between Ghana and China in 2016. The agreement provides for China to exploit the bauxite deposit in exchange for a Chinese investment of 2 billion dollars in various projects of development across Ghana, including roads. Following an initial disbursement of Chinese funds in November 2019, work has started on the construction of access roads to the top of the Atewa forest for exploration drilling and identification of bauxite deposits.

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