Kakum National Park records reduction in visits

KakumThe patronage of the Kakum National Park, which has a canopy walkway, has significantly reduced because of the poor nature of the road leading to the site, officials there have said.

The deterioration of the 30 kilometre-road leading to the Park from Cape Coast, has extended the driving time to an hour instead of the 30 minutes to access the facility, one of the leading tourist sites, located at Abraso in the Twifo Hemang District of the Central Region.

Mr Francis Dontoh Cobbinah, the Executive Director of the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust, in an interview with the GNA at Cape Coast, said a total of 270,779 tourists visited the Park last year as against 439,323 in the previous year.

Of the number, 130,114 used the canopy walkway, while the rest only visited the National Park.

Mr Cobbinah said 61,679 Ghanaian children visited the Park last year as against 81,580 in 2014, while 1,746 non-Ghanaian children were also at the facility as against 2,006 in the previous year.

He said 14,771 Ghanaian adults visited the Park as compared to 15,845 in the previous year, with 11,889 non Ghanaian adults visiting last year as against 12, 221 in 2014.

An amount of GH₵ 4,554 was accrued from the use of the canopy walkway last year as against GH₵5,765 in the previous year.

He explained that a larger portion of the revenue was paid into government coffers with very little left for the management of the park; that is why his outfit could not rehabilitate the road, as the project was capital intensive.

On other reasons for the reduction in patronage, the Executive Director said the low visits of foreign tourists could be linked to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in the sub-region last year.

This is because some tourists cancelled their bookings.

Additionally, he said, the construction of a similar canopy walkway at Bunso in the Eastern Region could have contributed because people from the Eastern and Volta regions would prefer to use the one at Bunso.

Mr Cobbinah said the lack of attractions other than the canopy walkway was another factor, adding that for the past 20 years the canopy walkway had been the major attraction at the Park.

He however announced that by the end of the year other attractions such as a Children’s park and animal viewing sites would be included.

The Kakum National Park covers 375 square kilometres and is jointly managed by the Ghana  Heritage Conservation Trust and the Wild Life Division of the Forestry Commission.

The Park is home to elephants, more than 800 rare species of birds, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians and monkeys, such as the endangered Diana Monkey; and the exclusive bongo antelopes.

Source: GNA

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