Inauguration of the renovated Kakum National Park Exhibition Center
Ophelia Oppong Yeboah, a tour guide, briefing dignitaries on the facility.
Kakum National Park in Abrafo-Odumase in the Center region inaugurated a renovated exhibition center.
The exhibition hall was renovated by the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT) with the support of the French Embassy in Ghana through its 2020 Sankofa Small Grants.
The GH¢30,000 project, which is the first phase of a facility renovation project, began in 2018.
Other rehabilitation partners were the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Wildlife Division under the Forestry Commission (FC).
The exhibition center has been developed around six thematic areas, which include the introduction and history of the Kakum Conservation Area, the structure of the rainforest, ecosystem services and products, special conservation efforts and alternative/additional livelihoods and visitors.
GHCT Board Chairman Akunu Dake said in his welcoming remarks that the exhibition center was designed to showcase the natural heritage of Kakum National Park, in addition to reflecting the ecological beauty of the park and its history.
He said it would also help staff educate visitors about the conservation efforts implemented by the GHCT and the FC Wildlife Division and the role visitors could play in safeguarding the ecosystem.
He added that Kakum management would strive to ensure the park is a pioneer, saying he was happy to continue on this trajectory.
Mr Dake said that under a special public-private partnership agreement, the Wildlife Division was responsible for managing and maintaining the park, visitor center and canopy walkway.
He said the council would also consider developing an audio-visual section, which would place visitors in the forest, and appealed for financial and technical support.
Mr Dake noted that the council intends to further change the outlook for the park’s visitor center and introduce more attractions to enhance the country’s developing tourism landscape.
He congratulated the French Embassy in Ghana through the Sankofa support project for higher education and research in heritage and tourism in Ghana, for their important fundamental support for the renovation works.
FC Director, Stakeholders and Ecotourism, Dr. Richard Gyimah commended GHCT for partnering with FC to develop ecotourism sites.
He said the inauguration of the exhibition hall will undoubtedly provide tourists and visitors with the serene atmosphere needed to connect with nature and also better appreciate the importance of biodiversity conversation.
It will also promote conservation education, while serving as a center for research and understanding of the cultural values of communities.
He called on potential development partners who wish to collaborate with the FC to develop nature-based tourism in various protected areas in Ghana to avail themselves of further engagement.
Central Regional Minister Justina Marigold Assan added that the room interpreted the complexities, which highlighted the diversities of tropical rainforests, the interdependencies between flora and fauna species as well as the many biological connections , which make the rainforest a web of life.
She said it would also help the GHCT carry out its core mandate of managing the gateway and promoting environmental education and conservation awareness.
“I hope this new building will help visitors, especially students, to learn and gain more knowledge about Kakum National Park and the unique service culture here,” she said.
Ms. Assan encouraged the park management and its development partners to continue collaboration to ensure steady growth and promotion of tourism, attract tourists and increase revenue to further improve the quality of service.
The Head of Cooperation of the French Embassy in Ghana, Julien Lecas, indicated that the Sankofa project from which the GHCT benefited in 2020 aimed to encourage the strengthening of civil societies and communities among other actors in Ghana, towards a better preservation, promotion and rehabilitation of culture and heritage. He said they were honored that GHCT had successfully completed the renovation of the exhibition center.
He added that the French Embassy in Ghana stood ready to support the promotion, protection and preservation of culture and heritage in Ghana.
The Denkyira Kyidomhene, Nana Oduro Appiako II, who presided over the ceremony, was very pleased with the new exhibition center and urged locals and foreigners to visit the facility.
Kakum National Park is a tropical rainforest that remains key in the country’s tourism and natural heritage sector and receives the highest number of visits every year and ranks first among all tourist attractions in Ghana.