Chief Gives Government 2012 Ultimatum... Do Our Roads, Else..

TOURISM IS one of the most lucrative industries in the world. In many parts of the world, it is a major player if not the only source of foreign exchange and income for socio-economic development. Even though the country has great tourism potential, very little is done to help in the growth of the industry. Last Tuesday as the world celebrated World Tourism Day, the spotlight was on Ghana, particularly a small town along the Eastern corridor road in the Hohoe municipality called Tafi Atome. This town is popularly known for having a good number of rare Mona monkeys living in their natural habitats unharmed. The habitat of these monkeys is known as the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary. Despite its popularity and revenue generating ability, it is however sad to note that the road leading to Tafi Atome for several years has been in a bad state. However due to the celebration of the World Tourism Day, the road was leveled to ease access to the sanctuary. The Paramount Chief of Tafi, Togbe Debrah in his speech during the occasion noted that the government should try as much as possible to construct the road before the 2012 elections. The road, which stretches from Kpando-Aveti-Atome-Alakpeti when constructed, will be the shortest route from Kpando to the Sanctuary and also ease accessibility from Hohoe. Togbe Debrah also complained about the lack of electricity and water supply in all the four towns that make up the Tafi traditional area-Atome, Mador, Abuife and Agornu. He also noted that previous governments did very little to develop the area. Togbe Debrah revealed that for the past five years, no junior high school student in the area had made it to the senior high school. He attributed the phenomenon to bad educational infrastructure, inadequate learning materials and lack of teachers in the area. He therefore charged the Hohoe educational directorate to urgently find a solution to the situation. The Volta Regional Minister, Joseph Amenowode, assured the paramount chief and his people that government was aware of their predicaments and that plans were far advanced to ameliorate them. He also promised the people a new junior high school. The Minister for Tourism, Akua Sena Dansua, called for more investments into the tourism industry since it was a multifaceted sector. She revealed the new Tourism Law ACT 817 of 2011 and the Tourism Development Fund had come at the right time to sustain and fast forward the industry’s development. She added that the ministry was doing everything possible to ensure that the industry moved from the fourth to the number one foreign exchange earner in the country. Currently, tourism contributes about 1.8 billion dollars to the economy, representing 6.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2010, it created about 219,000 direct and indirect jobs for people. Madam Dansua, who is also the Member of Parliament for North Dayi, called on communities with such tourism potentials to uphold peace and unity at all times to facilitate investment and development of their communities. The Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Alexander Asum-Ahensah, said his outfit was investing in the industry, developing museums and heritage industry as part of a five-year strategic plan towards improving the sector. He therefore urged artists to add value to their work to reach a wider clientele. This year’s UN World Tourism Day was under the theme: ‘Tourism-Linking Cultures’. The event was attended by people from all walks of life. There were exhibition of local artifacts and souvenirs. There was also a food bazaar as well as numerous cultural displays.