The Kakum National Park has lost in excess of GH¢400,000.00 in revenue due to the Coronavirus outbreak which culminated in its closure, the Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT), managers of the facility has disclosed.
Mr Michael Amonoo, the Marketing Officer for the GHCT who disclosed this said the situation had affected the organization’s liquidity and rising cost of maintenance over the period.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Cape Coast on Wednesday, Mr Amonoo said the GHCT had to cancel all its scheduled visits largely by foreigners which was the main source of revenue for the facility.
The GHCT was set up to promote the preservation and conservation of Ghana’s historic monuments, sites and biodiversity.
Located just 30km north of Cape Coast, Kakum National Park, a UNESCO acclaimed World Heritage site, is one of Ghana’s most famous parks consisting of undisturbed pristine forest with Africa’s only rainforest canopy walkway.
It is home to unique fauna and flora including the endangered diana monkey, bongo antelope and more than a thousand species of butterflies, elephants and tree species like Odum, Mahogany and other medicinal plants.
According to him, at peak and off-peak season, the facility could record not less than 11,000 local and 4,000 foreign visitors per month.
He said the closure had affected other interdependent activities including hotels, restaurants, traders and communities that derive its livelihood around the facility.
“Except the labourers and security guards manning the forest reserve and the facility, all other employees are at home,” he said.
Mr Amonoo hinted of moves by the GHCT to reopen the facility on Wednesday, July 1 to resume its operations.
He said internal safety protocols and precautionary measures have been instituted to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and that all staff at the facility will be tested, the offices reconfigured for decongestion and the training of COVID-19 response team for the Park.
He said in addition to that, there will be a maximum of 15 persons per tour guide per session and discouraged walk-in service and urged all prospective visitors to book tickets online to drastically ease congestion and its implications thereof.
Mr Amonoo said other measures include regular handwashing with soap under running water, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, avoiding handshake, social distancing and avoiding overcrowding.
He reminded people to adhere to personal hygiene while the government and the medical teams also play their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 for the country to return to normalcy.
Mr Amonoo, however, indicated that the closure of the facility had in a way been positive because it had given the animals and the environment some rest devoid of all human interference and distractions.