Tourism and rural development (a case study of the Kwabre District in Ashanti Region)

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Like most of the rural areas of less developed countries, Kwabre District’s economy is oriented more towards the production of primary products (mostly agricultural produce) than to secondary and tertiary activities. For the past two decades, the agricultural sector of the district has been beset by intensive and continuous cultivation, felling of trees and sand winning. These have led to severe decline of soil fertility and loss of the rich forest vegetation which Kwabre was known for. Today, he problems of low agricultural productivity and output, unemployment, deforestation, and hence poverty are synonymous with the economy of the Kwabre District. However, the only leeway to save this rural economy of its aforementioned numerous problems is diversification, especially by moving away from dependence on agricultural production to alternative sources of income and employment. The traditional craft activities (Kente weaving, Adinkra making and Wood carving) which are associated with the district are not only seen as viable and lucrative small scale activities (which have survived since its emergence in the 19th century in the district) but also as high demand - driven tourist product with the potential to become an alternative source of livelihood for the people of the district. It is therefore not surprising that this tourism product has been rated by the Ghana Tourist Board as among the most important tourist sites in Ashanti Region. The study tried to identi1’ and assess the present state of district tourism industry, and brought to light its potentials which can be harnessed and used as the basis towards the development of this rural economy. Data collected from both secondary and primary sources were analysed and synthesised to assess the present state of the components and impacts of the district’s tourism development. Some of the major findings include: O inadequate and to some extent lack of tourist facilities, services and infrastructure; i) lack of structured institutional machinery:, and ii) complete lack of political will and commitment by the District Assembly and the Central government, to promote and develop the tourism industry of the district. Consequently, a holistic approach to break the bottlenecks inhibiting the effective and efficient performance of the district’s tourism industry was evolved, These inc1ue: i) reviewing and updating the district’s goal on tourism: ii) formulating the district’s tourism policy:, ii) creating administrative and institutional capacities to back the district’s tourism development process: iv) enacting bye-laws to protect the industry v) vigorous marketing drive to create positive image and promote the industry; and vi) developing the human and financial resources bases to sustain and harness the district’s tourism industry. It is also imperative for the District Assembly to set up a permanent Tourism Committee with a service wing to see to the implementation of the proposed interventions. The implementation of the strategies proposed in this report would go a long way to enhance the development of the district’s tourism industry. This is exactly the basis and focus of this study Therefore, with the unique cultural tourism and a friendly people (who have been described by tourists to the district as extremely helpful, accommodating and sociable), the district’s faith in tourism is not ill - placed. It would rather set on a pedestal to maximize the full benefits of the tourism industry to move the district’s economy from its present state of under - development. This would materialize only if the proposals identified in this study are injected into the tourism system of the district. The author is of the view that with the active involvement of the indigenes and the cognizance of the environmental and socio-cultural factors impinging on the tourism industry, tourism in the district would certainly emerge as the dominant sector and a viable agent in sustaining this rural economy of Kwabre District,
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in National Development Policy and Planning, 1997