The Western Region of Ghana is home to several indigenous communities that are increasingly engaging in tourism initiatives to promote their cultural heritage. Indigenous tourism is indeed gaining traction in the western region after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
Indigenous tourism refers to tourism experiences and initiatives that are owned and operated by indigenous communities, allowing them to share their culture, traditions, and heritage with visitors.
While I may not have the most up-to-date information on recent developments, here are some ways in which indigenous tourism was gaining traction in the Western Region of Ghana:
Cultural festivals and events: Indigenous communities in the Western Region have been organizing cultural festivals and events to showcase their traditional music, dance, art, and cuisine. A remarkable example is the Kundum Festival among the Nzemas and Ahantas.
These celebrations provide opportunities for tourists to experience the rich cultural diversity of the region and learn about the customs and traditions of the indigenous people.
Community-based tourism projects: Indigenous communities in the Western Region have been establishing community-based tourism projects, where tourists can stay in locally owned accommodations and participate in activities such as guided nature walks, canoe trips, and village visits.
Such projects include the Axim Beach Resort, Busua Beach Resort, Maaha Beach Resort, and Ankobra Bridge Hotel and Resort among others. These initiatives allow visitors to interact with community members, learn about their way of life, and contribute directly to the local economy.
Cultural heritage sites and museums: The Western Region is known for its historical and cultural sites, such as the Nzulezu Stilt Village and the Cape Three Points Lighthouse. Indigenous communities have been actively involved in preserving and interpreting these sites, providing guided tours and sharing their ancestral stories with visitors.
Craft and artisan markets: Indigenous artisans in the Western Region produce traditional handicrafts, including pottery, textiles, beadwork, and carvings. For instance, if you visit the Nzulezu village, you are sure to come out with a small carved boat.
Though there is no clear establishment of craft markets and cooperatives, some of them have been enabled to sell their products directly to tourists, supporting their livelihoods and preserving traditional craftsmanship.
Collaborations and partnerships: Indigenous communities have been collaborating with government agencies like the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), District Assemblies, non-profit organizations, and tourism stakeholders to develop sustainable tourism strategies and promote indigenous tourism in the Western Region.
These partnerships aim to ensure that the benefits of tourism reach the local communities and that cultural heritage is respected and protected.
It is important to note that the growth and specific initiatives in indigenous tourism in the Western Region of Ghana may have progressed after COVID-19.
To support the growth of indigenous tourism in the Western Region, governments, tourism organizations, and indigenous communities must collaborate to develop sustainable tourism strategies, establish cultural centers, create tourism training programs, and promote indigenous-owned businesses.
These efforts will ensure that indigenous communities have a strong voice in shaping the tourism industry and that their cultural heritage is respected and valued.