The Songor Lagoon must be protected to attract tourists and other economic benefits due to its unique global biosphere status, says Mr Charles Kweku Boateng, Acting Tema Regional Director, Ghana Tourism Authority.
According to him, it is very surprising to observe that the Songor Lagoon is not among the top ten most visited tourist sites in the country.
“Because of its sheer size and the traditional ways of winning salt from the lagoon through crystalization, it makes it a unique phenomenon around the world which led the UNESCO to designate it as a ramsar site as far back as 1988.
Recently In 2011, it was also identified and designated as one of the important biosphere reserve in the world, “he said.
The lagoon had over the years offered sanctuary for various species of migratory birds.
The Songor lagoon, which covers approximately 24,600 hectares of land, had been one of the main sources of livelihood for the people of Ada and beyond.
Apart from producing salt for domestic and industrial use, the Songor lagoon is a rich and viable habitat for crabs and fishes.
Illegal winning of salt which the locals term as ‘ATSIAKPO’ was undermining the cultural and economic benefits of the Songor lagoon.
Hence, Mr. Boabeng said, the lagoon must be protected by the local people since it is their property.
He said, the Authority would arrange for a data collection point at the lagoon to monitor how many people come to visit at the end of the year for proper record keeping.
Mr. David Ahadzie, Executive Secretary, Ada Tourism Stakeholders Association, observed that the lagoon was one of the strategic tourism assets in the world and must be protected.
“As tourism stakeholders, we are looking at how the lagoon can be protected and preserved because its natural values that support socio cultural and economic needs of the local people of Ada justify its protection and preservation. It is an asset to Ghana and the whole world.
When I send tourists there, I always let the local people engage and interact with them which results in buying of locals products by the tourists. So in that manner, I think tourism is playing a significant role in the econony of the communities around the lagoon, “he said.
According to him,” What we need now is the protection of the site and that is where the community members have a significant role to play to sustain it for posterity.”
Currently, ‘YIHI KATSEME’, a local women’s group had launched a fight against illegal salt winning at the lagoon hoping to restore degraded portions to their natural state.