March 2011 Newsletter
Akwaaba! Welcome to the Ghana West Coast, the destination for an unforgettable tropical beach holiday off the beaten track.
The saying “the best comes from the west” seems to have been written specifically for the Western Region of Ghana. Famous already for producing about 70% of Ghana’s main exports (gold, cocoa, timber,...) now it is also known for the recently discovered oil and of course Tourism.
Tourism, with a relative short history in the country, is one of the growing economic sectors of Ghana. It it is now the fourth economic sector in terms of foreign exchange earnings. UNWTO data indicate that Ghana’s tourism sector achieved one of highest growth in Africa in 2009, showing its great potential.
Tourism has a positive impact on the economies of developing countries, improving living and social conditions either directly by creating new jobs opportunities for local people or indirectly through the improvement of infrastructures, sanitation conditions, etc.
The vast tourism resources of the Western Region, especially those on the West Coast are already drawing a growing traffic of tourists that could make Ghana a must- see destination of West Africa before the end of the decade. The West Coast offers an unforgettable coastal experience where nature, wildlife, culture and gastronomy play an important role. GWC is developed along ecotourism, sustainability and community-based tourism principles.
GWC is using The Destination Management Area Approach (DMA) to tourism development, a strategy, which involves defining an area covering the coastal area from Takoradi to the western border with Ivory Coast. All stakeholders operating in the area are organised in a Destination Management Organisation (DMO), a management structure in charge of defining and pursuing a common vision for the development of tourism in the West Coast.
The DMO aims at promoting and creating awareness about this tourism destination, and ensuring its sustainability. All efforts are behind achieving a major objective: using tourism as a tool for the elimination of poverty. With this plan as a guideline the different tourism related projects within the destination highlight sustainable use of tourism resources and the spreading the benefits of tourism through community ownership and participation in the local industry.
The competitive global tourism market demands an equally aggressive marketing strategy. To this end , the West Coast Destination Management Organisation has drawn up a strategic marketing plan and has already deployed a wide range tourism products such as community based activities and of promotional initiatives such as the Ghana West Coast website, new promotional brochures and posters, and of course this newly born newsletter.
Many organisations are involved in making it all happen: the Government of Ghana, the tourism private sector, the Italian NGOs Ricerca e Cooperazione and Cospe, SNV, the Dutch development cooperation agency Coastal Resources Centre as well as Ghana Tourism Board, Ghana Wildlife Society, Wildlife Division, and Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.
New businesses in both the formal and informal sectors are springing up by the day, creating jobs and improving lives perceptibly.
What is required to generate greater impacts for the local communities is for more of you to come and enjoy the best beach and eco tourism experience in West Africa.
“Doing good’ has never has been made so enjoyable.
|West Coast – a unique destination
The West Coast of Ghana is THE Beach destination in Ghana, showcasing a wide range of attractions and activities that aim to give the visitor a whole new tourism experience. The 175 km coastline is dotted with long sandy beaches and coconut trees.
While relaxing in one of the resorts, you can decide to visit some of the communities and experience firsthand the hospitality of its people. et to know more about their history by hiring an official tour guide. They can take you to visit the ancient forts and historical buildings located in the area.
If what you like is water sports and active holidays in the West Coast, you will find a large range of activities on offer. Surfing, sea kayaking, and body boarding are available in almost every community. For those looking for something more relaxing, boat trips and fishing are popular activities. Unique experiences such as turtle nesting and whale watching are the privilege of those who come to discover the West Coast.
On the other hand, if you crave something on firmer ground , hiking routes have been designed to leave you with an unforgettable impression of the coastal forest. The Ankasa National Park, for example, hosts many wildlife species.
Gastronomy is also one of our great treasures. Fresh fish, lobster, and other seafood is caught daily. The arrival of the fishermen with their daily catch brings a general excitement to the communities - an experience that you can also take part in.
Do you need more reasons why you should come? We´ve got them...come and discover!
|MEET WEST COAST
|Don’t miss in this season
Have you ever seen a 900 kg Leatherback laying their eggs? Turtle season is coming to an end, but you’ve still got time. Until the end of march Green Turtles, Olive Ridleys and Leatherbacks continue to come to the West Coast to lay their eggs. You can enjoy this amazing experience at several points along the West Coast to lay their eggs. You can enjoy this amazing experience in different points of the West Coast. There are several initiatives to protect the turtles, most of which are carried out by private operators: Fanta´s Folly (Butre), Green Turtle Lodge (Akwidaa), Beyin BeachResort (Beyin), Ankobra Beach (Axim)
These initiatives seek to create awareness among the local population about the need of protect the turtles as some of them are endangered. Turtles are threatened mainly by human action from hunting and egg harvesting. Other major threats to the survival of the turtles include accidents with boats, getting caught in fishermen’s nets, pollution, and destroyed habitat. With a professional tour guide you will learn more about the turtles and their habitat, life cycle, and any other questions you may have.
This ancient village has been known since 1402 when it was called Ézilé and it was situated a few kilometres to the west of where it is now. Tradition says that the former Chief of Ézile decided to move the town to the current location
following a terrible period when all the pregnant women were dying. The name Akwidaa in Fanti means “an old man” and became the name of the town by repeating it constantly. The people belong to the Ahanta ethnic group and are mainly farmers and fishermen. During the colonial era Akwidaa was occupied by the Branderburger who built Fort Dorothea in 1685. Today just the ruins remain. You can even find an old canon at the beach in Akwidaa.
Akwidaa is not only surrounded by the sea, but also has the Ezile river and Lagoon which provide a source of fish and serves as the home for crabs, monkeys, birds, and many other animals.
If you want to know more about the magical powers of the villagers, the history of the dodo tree and many other traditions, visit Akwidaa and contact any of the local tour guides! Akwidaa is easily reached by tro-tro or taxi from the Agona station.
First of all, we should start by explaining what TTDC stands for. well, TTDC stands for Town Tourism Development Committee. It is a community governance structure in charge of welcoming tourists to the Community
Every community in the West Coast has a TTDC office. They receive visitors, inform them about the different activities they can take part in and the attractions they can visit.
Butre TTDC offers a guided tour to Fort Batestein, a boat trip on Nana Butre Lagoon and different hiking tours to Busua, Coconut Beach, Bed Rock, etc...
The funds obtained from these activities are kept in a community fund and are used for the development of the Community.
The TTDC in Butre is one of the most active and successful. The group was created in 2005 by the community to promote the Fort as a tourist destination. It was a 100% local initiative as they saw the importance of properly receiving the tourists and welcoming them.
At the TTDC you can always find Mekrakye and the other official Tour Guides: Yankey, Phillip and Kofi. They are always there to welcome you with a smile and make your visit enjoyable.
We talked to Mekrakye to know more about his work as part of the TTDC. We asked Mekrakye why he decided to take part in it.
Mekrakye said that the tourists need attention and protection. Moreover, he also enjoys making them feel at home and interacting with them “so they don´t feel lost and lonely”. Interacting with them is what he likes the most.
After asking him whether Butre is benefiting from the tourism, he explained that the money they get from the activities are deposited into a community bank account. The community meets every 6 months at the community centre to discuss the community needs. If they don´t need anything they keep the money in the bank until their next meeting.
So far they have been able to rebuild their community bridge, cut some trees that were becoming a safety issue, construct the community’s football park and even build a borehole.
These actions have helped promote a positive approach to tourism witin the community. Mekrakye also commented that as a result of the tourism, some of the people have begun developing some small enterprises which are supported by the money tourists spend. All these actions help strengthen the local economy.
The TTDC has records of all the visitors that come to Butre. In 2010 the community received more than 1,660 persons of different nationalities, including tourists from Germany, USA, UK, etc... Mekrakye affirmed proudly that the tourists love Butre and they would love to come back. They particularly enjoy the beauty of the beach, the view from the old Fort, and of course, the people. When asked about what future improvements are needed, he believes paving the road and improving public transport to the town are important for improving access to Butre.
5th-7th March: ASABAAKO Music Festival in Busua.
If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, party and enjoy great music from Ghana and around the world, this Independence holiday weekend, head to Busua Beach for the first ever ASABAAKO! Music Festival.
ASABAAKO!, meaning “One Dance” in Akan, is a perfect 3-day party recipe, taking a combination of the resort’s beautiful beachfront location and adding a sprinkling of hip hop, house, afrobeat, hip life, funk, high life, and much more from DJs from Accra, Takoradi and the UK. The weekend schedule includes:
Please note this event is NOT taking place at the Busua Beach Resort hotel.
As always on Busua beach, alongside the music there will be a range of beach sports including soccer and volleyball, while the more adventurous can even try surfing and kayaking. There are plenty of tourist activities in the area, from boat trips to jungle treks. Or, just relax by the beach, dip in the warm, clean sea, and enjoy the vibe.
Accommodation is limited, so guests are advised to book early. For a full list of accommodation, as well as travel info, regular updates and all other festival details, visit www.facebook.com/asabaako or www.ASABAAKO.com.
Past Events Reviews:
Great success of the First “Ghana West Coast Mountain Bike Festival”, all expectations exceeded!
The event, which took place on the 19th-20th February, was an initiative from a Community Based non-profit Project, as an alternative to provide sustainable income for young people in the West Coast of Ghana whilst being sensitive to local environment and culture.
The project aims at providing activities in the different West Coast eco-systems so their conservation can be promoted amongst local populations and tourists and at the same time to help safeguard their future.
Short term goals for the project include:
- Training for local youths in bike repair
- Promotion of mountain biking through private/public sector
- Provision of bike hire to tourists to generate income for communities
The event was organised by members of Akwidaa and Cape Three Points with support from Green Turtle Lodge and Escape3Points to officially launch the project to and use it as a platform to explain the goals to the communities.
According to organisers the event was a complete success in terms of participants and spectators. 16 teams registered for Saturday races with a total of 64 official riders, who competed first on a 4 team sprint course. The 3 fastest teams competed again afterwards with their two quickest riders for the Championship.
Moses Kojo Yaw from Green Turtle Team was crowned Ghana West Coast Mountain Biking champion for 2011.
On Sunday took place the ‘Sunday Social Ride’ , where 15 riders joined in to ride the
newly mapped Medenya Meander, a route taking you from Akwidaa Village to Kyiavani Village then along footpaths over a series of 8 bamboo bridges and through local villages, forest and farmlands.
Other partners on this event were: Ghana Rubber Estates Limited, Coastal Resources Center and Tullow Oil.
Meeting with the Minister
" On the 22nd of February 2011 five representatives of GWC Destination Management Organization met the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Honorable Ms. Akua Sena Dansua and Ministry of Tourism Chief Director, Mrs. Dina Hammond.
The GWC-DMO representatives were introduced to the Hon. Minister by the Excecutive Director of the Ghana Tourist Board Mr. Julious Debrah. The meeting had the objective of introducing GWC- DMO and its peculiarities to the Hon. Minister and share with Her concerns about
issues such as the present visa regime and infrastructures development in Ghana West Coast and which need immediate attention.