Ecotourism critical to nature conservation and socio-economic growth – Gyasi-Afriyie

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Mrs Mavis Gyasi-Afriyie, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has asked residents in the region to plant trees to help develop and promote eco-tourism.

She said ecotourism’s perceived potential as an effective tool for sustainable development was the main reason why many developing countries were now embracing it.

It is therefore important for residents in the Ashanti region, which is considered to have many potential eco-tourism and natural historic sites, to work together to develop and promote these sites for the benefit of the people.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency during a tree-planting exercise at Adanwomase, a Kente weaving community in the Kwabre East Municipality, she said in many African communities, the creation of protected areas and introduction of ecotourism had brought a significant impact on the lives of the people

Policy-makers, she noted, had found the need to factor eco-tourism into their economic development and conservation strategies in the wake of the degradation of the environment, which threatened biodiversity.

“The underlying notion is to conserve natural resources, especially biological diversity, and maintain sustainable use of resources to bring ecological experience to travelers,” she observed.

In all, 900 tree seedlings, including royal palm, mahogany, teak, and acacia, were planted by the GTA Regional Office at the community with the support of the Forestry Commission (FC).

Many of the seedlings were planted in the Bomohwe Forest, which had seen some encroachment in recent times.

The exercise formed part of activities marking the 2021 World Tourism Day, which is being observed on the theme: “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”.

Mrs Gyasi-Afriyie indicated that the purpose of the event was to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community, and also demonstrate how it affected social, cultural, political, and economic values worldwide.

Tourism, she said, was one of the most important economic sectors, which employed one in every ten people globally, and helped to provide livelihoods for millions of people.

Consequently, stakeholders need to work together to develop the sector to an appreciable standard.

The Regional GTA Director suggested to the chiefs and people of Adanwomase to constitute a committee to supervise the seedlings to ensure their growth successfully.

She charged the people to manage their forest resources effectively for the protection of wildlife and other natural resources.

Nana Kwadwo Ntiamoah Panyin II, Chief of Adanwomase, said conserving nature, with its attendant positive consequences on tourism, was a shared responsibility.

The traditional authorities would as such work in partnership with the GTA and forestry officials to preserve the ecology.

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