Tourism remains a key contributor to Ghana’s economic growth, although there’s still a huge potential yet to be tapped across the country.
Imagine a community where residents live freely with monkeys that have become an integral part of their lives. That is the reality at Duasidan, a community in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region.
Sadly, the community has not received the needed support to develop this tourism potential.
While tourism is not the most popular in terms of sectors that drive Ghana’s economy, it surely contributes something substantial that cannot be overlooked. Indeed, the sector has the potential to make a greater impact on the economy, with the right focus, support and investment.
Aside from the poor road network to some tourist sites and hospitality facilities, there are also untapped tourism potentials nationwide, and one of such is the Duasidan Monkey Sanctuary in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region.
In 2018, tourism contributed about 5.5 % to the country’s GDP, which is the total value of all goods and services in the country.
The Duasidan community, founded by a hunter, Nana Asiedu, has been in an existence for close to 400 years. Duasidan is an Akan word that literally means the tree builds a house. The community is 15 minutes’ drive from Dormaa Ahenkro which hosts the Dormaa Traditional Council.
Unfortunately, a huge tourism potential in the community, a Monkey Sanctuary, is not getting the needed support. The Monkey Sanctuary is located on a 46 acre land, and is currently being managed by the community. Three monkey species are found there, namely Mona, Patas and Diana monkeys.
Apart from the monkeys, there is also a bamboo grove, with many different tree species. Despite the tourism potential of the site, started in 2002 by the Chief of the Community, Nana Oppong Kyelyeku Ababio II, it has not received the right government support.
Nana Oppong Kyekyeku Ababio II spoke about the history behind the Monkey Sanctuary and how much work he’s put in to develop it.
“In the olden days, before you settle at a place you have to find out whether there is peace and if the place is good before you go. Our ancestors found out that this place is good so they were told not to kill the monkeys. Over 300 to 400 years, the animals have been here. So when I was enstooled as a Chief, I decided to develop this place as a tourist site. I collaborated with the Game and Wildlife at Goaso which directed as what to do. Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) is the only organization that has come to help us; they are putting up an office and providing us water. They cannot do it all alone” he said.
Nana Ababio II is calling for more support, especially from the Ghana Tourism Authority to develop the site.
“What we need most is publicity. There are people who are in Dormaa, but are not aware we have such a thing here. Ghana Tourism Authority should come on board to help us.”
A youth leader of Duasidan, Nana Kwasi, believes the development of the site could create jobs for the community as it will boost economic activities.
“If the place is developed, it would create job opportunities for the unemployed youth”.
Tano Sacred Grove’s tourism potential wasting away due to neglect
Another tourism potential, the Tano Sacred Grove at Tanoboase in the Techiman North District, which is about ten minutes’ drive from the Regional capital, Techiman, has also been neglected.
The Grove, a Community Based-Ecotourism Project was established in 1996. With the help of the Ghana Association for the Conservation of Nature, the Tanoboase community started the development of the Grove as an eco-tourism site.