The Volta Regional Office of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) in partnership with other stakeholders has relaunched the homestay concept as a product of a community based tourism development project.
Speaking at a day’s workshop to sensitize the stakeholders about the project, the Volta Regional Manager of GTA, Mr.
Kwame Gyasi underscored the importance of tourism to developing economies and for that matter Ghana.
He said, Ghana’s Tourism is increasingly becoming a major mover of the National economy.
From 2009 to 2011, Ghana recorded a 15.7% increase in international tourist arrivals.
Tourist arrivals at the six prominent community tourism sites in 2009 was 16,625 with receipt of GH₵20,249.04 and increased to 31,385 and GH₵110,390.56 in 2010 arrivals increased by 75% to 54,874 with receipts also moving up by 61% to GH₵180,159.40.
Mr Gyasi said his outfit is not about to reinvent the concept of homestay as product of community based tourism since homestay tourism has been with Ghana and started in 1995 with fourteen (14) sites.
However time has occasioned it to reintroduce the home stay product to Community based Tourism sites to have the desired impact and also afford visitors opportunity to live in rural communities with host families.
He recalled his personal experience in Malaysia where he underwent a course with the support of JICA and saw for himself what we have in abundance and it will be an added incentive to improve that aspect of tourism.
Mr Gyasi added that, the project intends to impact positively on the community especially the families, homes and also export the real culture of the people to the outside world.
He however mentioned that, families and homes who intend to sign on to the program will have to meet certain sets of criteria to be able to partake in the program.
A pilot program is being initiated in Amedzofe based on an adapted model of the Malaysian Home stay concept.
In his brief speech as the Chairman for the occasion, the Deputy Chief Executive in Charge of Operations GTA, Mr Frank Kofigah applauded the initiative and said the Authority will be keeping a close eye on how the pilot project will fare and subsequently replicate it in other communities.
The Representative of the Chief of the Avatime Traditional Area, Okusie Akyem Foli V commended the initiative and gave his support to the program.
He said, Avatime is the tourism hub in the Volta region and has seven peculiar weather types which can be easily likened to the weather in Europe and visitors both local and international will have the rare privilege to experience it.
It is therefore expected to come into full force in the last quarter of this year.
A committee is expected to be formed to outline some of the modalities for the program and it will constitute representation from the GTA, Ghana National Fire Service, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Volta Regional Coordinating Council and the Avatime Traditional Area.