Tourism development and its effects on host community: a case study of Kakum National Park in the Central Region of Ghana

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APRIL, 2014
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Tourism is now the world‘s number one export earner. It has generated an estimated gross output of US 3.5 trillion and the Figure is expected to increase to US 7.0 trillion by 2011 (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2009). In Ghana, it is presently the third largest foreign exchange earner after merchandise exports and remittances from abroad and has become one of the most important and fastest growing sectors of the Ghanaian economy (Bank of Ghana, 2007). The study was carried out to find out the degree of tourism development and its effects onKakum Conservation Area. Two communities along the park were purposively selected. Abrafo-Odumase and Jukwa Mfuom are the southern and the northern gateways to the Kakum National Park. The case study approach was used since the work focused oninteraction between the park and host community. Bothstructured and non-structured questionnaire were administeredto 369 local residents, 168 tourists and an in-depth interview with the Park Manager. The local residents andthe tourists were randomly sampled. In addition, direct observations and transect walks were also used to generate data for the study. The study revealed that the study communities benefited from the Kakum National Park‘s operations in the area of water, electricity extensions, library, market, teachers‘ quarters, employment and revenue generation. Also, household incomes and general quality of life of the people have improved by 10 percent. The environment has also been preserved because by providing economic incentive for protecting natural and cultural diversity, has made conservation efforts possible, as well as providing revenues to continue supporting the conservation efforts.The degradation of local infrastructure results from the heavy traffic of cars and tour buses. The degradation of local infrastructure results from the heavy traffic of cars and tour buses. However, some negative effects are the displacement of the natives from their land, increased social gap, frustration, loss of cultural identity. Unfortunately the local communities are not aware of their cultural heritage and so they imitate tourist‘s social cultural traits. The study recommended that local people should be involved in the tourism development in their area. The people should be involved in the sharing of tourism benefits and local capacity building of the people. Finally, all of the Park's development initiatives should address the socio-economic needs of the communities that surround the Park development in the area.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.