A 90-page HandBook on the country’s eco-tourism was on Tuesday launched at Duryumu Shai Osuduku District of the Greater Accra Region by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor.
The book produced by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission provides basic information of nature-based tourism in Ghana and the key institutions and their mandates in tourism development.
It also outlines the Forestry Commission’s plans and projects in the ecotourism development as well as the promotion for the domestic and international markets.
Launching the book, Mr Jinapor urged Ghanaians, especially those in the diaspora to patronise ecotourism saying that Ghana was blessed with many nature-based tourist sites and reconnect with nature.
Eco-ecotourism, he said provided an effective economic incentive for the conservation and protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity, as it generates income that contributes to the growth of the national economy.
Mr Jinapor stated that tourism, had become a major boost to the economies of countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, and Zambia adding that in 2020 for example, where ecotourism contributed about US$4.2 billion to the Kenya economy as against US$1.2 billion representing some five-point five per cent (5.5 per cent of Ghana’s GDP in 2020).
“This clearly shows that, with the right investments and policies, we have the potential to develop this sector to contribute significantly to the economy,” he added.
According to him, a Wildlife Resources Management Bill was currently before Parliament to provide a new legal framework for the management of wildlife resources.
The bill, Mr Jinapor explained, would provide the Forestry Commission with a lot more authority to manage effectively the national parks and forest reserves to promote private sector participation and improve law enforcement in protected areas.
The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr John Allotey, said it would serve as a marketing tool for ecotourism within and outside the country.
“In line with government’s digitisation agenda, each tourist site listed in the handbook has a Quick Response (QR) Code, which, when scanned on the phone, takes one directly to the tourist destination website,” the minister said.
He called for an end to the wanton destruction of the country’s forests and the unwarranted attack on forestry officials.
According to him the nation’s social and economic development depended on the sustainable management of the natural environment and its resources in order to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of the terrestrial ecosystems.
This is an article by Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu Doryumu, originally published by Ghanaian Times.