Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, Paramount Chief of the Akwamu Traditional Area, has lauded the West Africa Tourism Organisation (WATO) and its partners for the creation of an ecotourism network in the sub-region.
The network, dubbed West Africa Ecotourism Network (WAEN), was created to organise and coordinate activities of various ecotourism establishments set up in countries across West Africa.
WAEN will promote ecotourism within the sub-region from wildlife and plantlife to local communities and their various cultures that affect a greater population of people worldwide.
The Akwamuhene, speaking at the launch of the network at the Royal Senchi Hotel in the Eastern region, said tourism was one of his key areas of focus adding that, the work of WAEN was in line with his vision to promote and attract tourists to Ghana.
The Akwamuhene said he was confident that WAEN would make tourism destinations on the continent more discoverable to interested persons across the world.
“With the singular creation of the WAEN, eco-tourists, as well as individuals and groups interested in West Africa ecotourism will find it so much easier to discover the many gems of beautiful landscapes, seasonal and dedicated cultural events, wildlife and plant life sanctuaries, reserves and parks, that are spread all over the different countries.
“Anyone anywhere in the world will be able to get access to information ranging from ecotourism destinations to tour operators, all in one online spot,” he said.
He urged all partner countries to prepare and take advantage of the network reap the benefits of ecotourism.
“We had better begin to prepare as small communities and neighbouring countries to receive the type of tourists that have a strong taste for nature brands of ecotourism.
“This is how much the ecotourism collaboration being launched officially today will impact West Africa tourism and indeed Africa tourism, in the most profitable manner. We only have to be better prepared to reap the benefits.”
At the launch were: the Adantemhene of Akwamu, Nana Asamoah Yeboah-Afari; the Chief Executive Officer of WATO, Ola Wright; and Louise Twining-Ward of the World Bank Group.
Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the World Tourism and Travel Council were also present at the event.