Regional News Fri, 5 Mar 2004

Forestry Commission takes measures to promote tourism

Accra, March 5, GNA - The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission is currently developing tourism promotion plans that would enable the tourism sector increase significantly its current contribution to the national economy.

With the involvement of the private sector, the division has started developing the basic infrastructure and services in the various national parks to make them attractive investment environments, while the private sector is encouraged to invest, develop and run commercial tourism operations and products.

Addressing exhibitors at the on-going 9th Ghana International Trade Fair on the occasion of the Forestry Commission Day, Mr. Boakye Dapaah, Chief Executive of the Commission said tenders for the developments of Ankasa Resort, in the Western Region, Mole in the Northern Region and Kakum National Park in the Central Region would soon be opened.

He said in developing the extension and promotion activities for the plans, the division recognised that the responsibility for promoting tourism in the parks must be largely shared between the public and private sector.

"In keeping with the trend in Africa, the Wildlife Division is looking for prospective investors, as potential major partners in conservation, particularly from largely non-governmental sources," Mr Dapaah.

He mentioned the recent massive infrastructural development and facelift at the Shai Hills Resort Reserves, saying, this project also is a significant development in the tourism industry.

On the timber industry development, Mr Kwamina Haizel of the Timber Industry Development Division said the Commission quest now was to shift from secondary processing into the tertiary sub-sector through reliance on mostly the lesser used timbers, which were inventorised to be adequately available on our forest.

"We want to ensure that more of the local processing companies get access to the international market by improving on the stock of the trees.

"Incentives are therefore instituted by the Commission to ensure that downstream wood products processing are gradually achieved," Mr Haizel said.

Source: GNA