The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP has underscored the importance of ecotourism to the economy of the country.
He said the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has identified the potential of ecotourism to contribute significantly to the country’s revenue generation target.
In line of this, Hon. Jinapor says certain measures are being implemented by the government to ensure that the huge potential of the sector is exploited to the benefit of the country.
“Ecotourism provides an effective economic incentive for conservation and protecting the ecosystem and biodiversity, as it generates income that contributes to the growth of the national economy. Indeed, in recent years, it has become a major boost to the economies of countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, and Zambia, the Minister said.
Citing examples from other countries, the Minister said ecotourism contributed about four point two billion United States dollars (US$4.2 billion) to the Kenyan economy in 2020.
In Ghana, he said, although we have not fully developed our ecotourism sector, it contributes about one point two billion United States dollars (US$1.2 billion), representing some five-point five percent (5.5%) of our GDP in 2020.
The Minister noted that this is a sign that with the right investments and policies, we have the potential to develop this sector to contribute significantly to the economy.
Hon. Jinapor was speaking at the launch of the ecotourism handbook, held at the Shai Hills Resource Reserve, on Friday, 28th January 2022.
He underscored Government’s commitment to conserve the ecosystem of the country.
He cited the Wildlife Resource Management Bill as one of many moves made by the government to safeguard the ecosystem.
He said the bill when passed will give the Forestry Commission more authority and legitimacy to protect and manage the Wildlife resources of the country.
“Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, is, therefore, committed to the conservation and preservation of our natural ecosystem, and developing it to contribute to the growth and development of the economy. We have, thus, laid before Parliament a Wildlife Resources Management Bill to provide a new legal framework for the management of our wildlife resources.
“When passed, which I am confident will be done in this First Meeting of the current Session of Parliament, it will provide the Forestry Commission with a lot more authority to be able to manage effectively our national Parks and Resource Reserves. It will also promote private sector participation and community engagements in wildlife management, and improve law enforcement in our protected areas,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey emphasized on the potential of ecotourism to help solve the country’s unemployment challenges and generate significant revenue for the state.
He stated that the current drive being pursued by his outfit under the guidance of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources is to develop and promote ecotourism in the country.
Mr. John Allotey indicated that the new direction embarked on by the commission has seen them take special interest in the growth and nursing of special plants and animals.
Mr. Bernard Asamoah Boateng, the Executive Director of the Wildlife Division gave details about the book which he says will serve as the ‘gospel’ for ecotourism in the country. He was confident that the book will serve as a pull for investors to the sector.
He further listed some of the interventions made by the division to promote ecotourism in the country.
The event was graced by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, the District Chief Executive of the area, Hon. Fred Offei Twum, representatives of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Ghana Tourism Development Company, Tour operators Union of Ghana and traditional rulers in the Shai-Osudoku area.
Below are some pictures:
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith