The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Mr Charles A. Abugre, has appealed to investors to take advantage of the enormous opportunities in tourism in the savannah zone to help increase their earnings and grow local economies.
He is optimistic that increased investments in high-end and budget hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other hospitality facilities in the savannah zone will help attract more visitors into the savannah zone, known for its serenity in nature and being home to dozens of historical and breathtaking sites.
With a sizeable number of domestic and international tourists beginning to take keen interest in the area’s sites, Mr Abugre said in Accra that investors could be assured of handsome returns on every penny of investment made in the area.
He was speaking at the launch of this year’s United Nations (UN) World Tourism Day, which will be observed on September 27 in Tamale in the Northern Region.
“Tourism potentials in the zone are immense. Attractions are attractions; you first must know that they exist and then through investments such as Zaina Lodge (at Mole the Northern Region) or Akayet Hotel (at Zaare in Upper East), these attractions will then become actual revenue-generating means and so on,” he said.
An initiative of the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, the World Tourism Day (WTD) is marked every year on September 27 to help throw more light on how countries can use tourism to develop their economies.
Just like last year, the WTD in Ghana will be observed by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts in collaboration with SADA, the specialised institution tasked with the transformation of the northern half of the country.
Given its multiplier effects on growth and transformation, Mr Abugre said the authority had made tourism one of the catalysts for its transformation agenda and was now working to make that a reality.
He bemoaned the limited interest in the various tourist sites in the area but expressed the hope that initiatives such as the marking of the tourism day in the zone would help market the potentials to investors and tourists.
“There are so many places out there about the savannah zone that are less known but if known, will not only be places for recreation but will also be places for investments,” he said at the launch.
He charged Ghanaians to take interest in the various tourism sites to help promote domestic tourism and grow the economies of the host communities.
Following the hosting of the international trade fair in Tamale and last year’s tourism day at Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region, the SADA CEO said investor interest in the zone had increased and expressed the hope that such interests would translate into investments soon.
“Above all, it will be an opportunity to see the rich culture of the people, music that is unadulterated, histories that are unknown and food that is yet to be commercialised, among other things,” he said.
The savannah zone, which covers the three northern regions and parts of the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions, currently accounts for five per cent of annual tourist numbers.
Foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the area are also low, accounting for a little over one per cent of national FDI inflows.
Activities lined up for this year’s tourism day which starts from September 21 include a float through the principal streets of Tamale; inter-school quiz competition on tourism under the auspices of the Ghana Tourism Authority; Muslim prayers; health walk and free medical screening; Christian prayers; launch of Tourism Investment and Promotion Summit.
There will also be welcome and awards dinner, cultural displays; unveiling of Tourism Ambassadors including Abede Pele, Sherifa Gunu, Yvonne Nelson, Stephen Appiah, Fancy Gadam, Okyeame Kwame and Sarkodie; and a grand durbar of chiefs and people to mark World Tourism Day on the theme: Sustainable Tourism, a tool for economic development. It is to be held at the Tamale Jubilee Park.