African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA)-Ghana, a network of key players in the tourism industry, is pushing for massive investment in tourist attraction sites in the Ashanti Region.
The Association says the Region with its abundant tourism resources was strategically placed to generate employment and wealth along the value chain of the sector to bring development to the people.
“We should begin to look deep within ourselves and tap the varied potentials inherent in the tourism industry for the growth of the local economy, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Emmanuel Boateng, President of ATTA-Ghana stated.
He made the call in an interview in Kumasi after members of the Association had visited some tourist attraction facilities in the Metropolis.
The tour formed part of activities marking the first anniversary of the establishment of ATTA-Ghana, which seeks to create synergy among players in the industry, improve facilities and also increase tourism business exposure.
Some key sites visited by the members included the Kumasi Zoological Gardens, Okomfo Anokye Sword Site, Armed Forces Museum, and Prempeh II Jubilee Museum, the oldest museum in Ghana and the West African sub-Region.
The Jubilee Museum was constructed in 1956 and adorned with the exquisite portraits of some of the Asante Kings, including Otumfuo Prempeh I, Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as well as Nana Yaa Asantewaa, the Asante warrior queen.
It houses many traditional artifacts, encompassing ceremonial stools, drums, military regalia, and rings used by some past kings.
The selection of these sites, according to the Association, was carefully thought through given their cultural, environmental, educational, and socio-economic significance to the people.
The Okomfo Anokye Sword Site, for instance, serves as the abode of the legendary sword planted in 1695 by the enigmatic traditional priest, Okomfo Anokye, which symbolizes the unity of the Asante people.
It was the very place where he commanded the ‘Golden Stool’ to fall from the sky, an event that would initiate the formation of the great Asante Kingdom, which spanned present-day Ghana as well as some parts of Cote d’Ivoire and other neighbouring countries.
The Armed Forces Museum, erected in the 1800s by the Overlord of the Asante Kingdom, Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwamina, depicts some rare military relics and artifacts, with some dating back to the First and Second World Wars.
The former fort is largely built of granite, and in the early 1900s would serve as a refuge for the Governor of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), Sir Frederick Hodgson, accompanied by his wife and a detachment of troops, as they were besieged by the Asante army.
Mr Boateng said the significance of these historical sites to boosting cultural and heritage tourism could not be overlooked, and therefore, ATTA-Ghana was committed to working with stakeholders to attract the needed investment for these sites.
The Association’s mission, he said, was to whip up the enthusiasm for domestic and international tourism drive, thereby helping to protect the heritage of the people.
Mr Ahmed Namaan, a Founding Member and Chair of the Advisory Board, ATTA-Ghana, said despite the challenges and shock to the tourism industry, the sector still had the potential to contribute significantly to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product given the requisite push.
He described ATTA-Ghana as “an Association with a pan-African vision”, whose activities aimed at demonstrating to the outside world, the continent’s rich tourism diversity.
Mr Namaan called on the members to be actively involved in the activities of the Association to advance its cause successfully.