Safeguard integrity of cultural heritage – MP urges tourism stakeholders

Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour, the Member of Parliament for the Nkawkaw Constituency has advised stakeholder in the tourism sector to make critical interventions to safeguard the integrity of the cultural norms, practices and sensibilities of the various tourism destinations across the country.

He noted that though there was a mutual dependence between culture, tourism and economic development, the cultural values of the people should not be compromised because that kept the moral fibre and heritage of the people intact.

Drawing attention to the negativity that characterized the celebration of the acclaimed Kwahu Easter Festival last year, Mr Darfour urged the media to focus attention on promoting a symbiosis rather than a conflict between culture and tourism in order not to threaten the heritage that drew people to the area during the festive period.

He said though the imperatives of tourism in reducing infrastructural deficits, poverty and unemployment in Ghana was unquestioned, a degeneration of the nation’s sense of cultural identity spell doom for the consolidation of the autonomy, security and the determination of the future of the people.

In an interaction with the media in Accra on Wednesday, the MP called on the Ghana Tourist Authority to liaise with the Kwahu Traditional Council, legislative and  Assembly Members within the enclave, Districts and Municipal Chief Executives to ensure that the cultural sensibility and heritage of the Chiefs and People of Kwahu are not allowed to be exposed to the negatives associated with tourism.

He said reports of immorality by the youth during the occasion cast a slur “on our cultural heritage as Ghanaians and we would not countenance that”.

“Kwahu is a disciplined community with high morals and would be the last to either engage or encourage visitors to do that. We should desist from tainting the hard won reputation of the good people of Kwahu”, he said.

Mr Dafour said this year’s festival promises more excitement and would live up to its billing as the traditional authorities and the people of Kwahu would showcase their rich cultural heritage.

“Let’s make the Kwahu Festival a showpiece of Ghana’s tourism developmental agenda. Let’s make good use of the Festival and harness the growth of Tourism in the Kwahu enclave in particular and Ghana as a whole”.

This year’s Easter festivities will commences on March 29 and end on April 3.

As is the custom, the indigenes of the area return en-masse to the Kwahu Ridge to confer with their families, proffer development solutions for the area and make merry.

The festival has become one of the biggest gatherings of revelers in the country, drawing people from all works of life nationally and internationally to witness the rich cultural diversity and tourism attractions of the area.

The event assumed an international image when in 2005 a paragliding festival  at Atibie was included in the attractions, increasing the frenzy associated with occasion .

The paragliding sport is part of fulcrum of government’s tourism drive in the country because its potential to maximize foreign earning in the sector.

Mr Dafuor said that in view of the economic benefits of the Paragliding festival, stakeholder in the industry should continue to nurture the Kwahu Easter  festival and other domestic tourism programmes to attract participation locally  and internationally as Ghana moved into a phase of accelerated development and modernization.

He drew attention to the unlikable state of the roads leading to the festival areas, saying that it impeded Ghana’s approach to developing Tourism potentials in the country and called on government to rectify the situation.

Source: GNA

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