Source: GNA - Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, the Minister of Tourism Culture and Creative Arts on Tuesday launched this year’s Paragliding Festival.
The festival would begin on Friday April 3 to Monday April 6, 2015, on the Odweanoma Mountain, Atibie, during the Easter period.
She said 2015 marks the tenth edition of the Paragliding Festival, which has become an established event on the national tourism calendar and continues to draw many domestic and international tourists to the Kwahu area.
She said for this year’s event, 15 pilots from six countries namely, United States, Peru, France, Japan, Belgium and Switzerland have confirmed their participation and would arrive in the country next week to do their trial runs before the proper commencement of the festival.
Mrs Ofosu-Ajare said this year’s event also coincides with the “Explore Ghana” Domestic Tourism initiative and would offer tourists the opportunity to visit as many sites within the Eastern Region.
She said this year’s festival will also provide a platform to showcase the rich arts and crafts of the Eastern Region and visitors will have the opportunity to purchase items of their choice at the festival grounds.
“Visitors will also be entertained with live band music featuring the best of Ghanaian highlife tunes. There will also be live broadcasts from some of our partner radio stations from the events grounds and you can have the opportunity to tell your friends and loved ones your paragliding experience”, she added.
Mrs Ofosu-Ajare said the visitors exert a positive impact on the economic fortunes of the area, opportunities are also created for arts and crafts vendors to sell their goods and occupancies are at their peak, home lodges flourish, restaurants, chop bars and drinking spots are heavily patronized, transport operators enjoy a windfall and there is a general upswing in the patronage of goods and services during the period.
She noted that investor interest in the area is rekindled and a more cohesive nation is forged by the greater understanding generated by visitors to the area.
The sector Minister said all the major stakeholders including the Ghana Tourist Development Company Limited, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Meteorological Services Department, the National Security Secretariat and the Ghana Army have been duly informed about this year’s festival, and have each in their own specific way, activated the necessary plans to ensure a smooth and successful festival.
She said at the local level, a Planning Committee has been set up under the direction of the District Chief Executive of Kwahu South to ensure the execution of the necessary preparatory activities critical to the success of the event.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said the ministry’s’ commitment to the rapid development of the vast tourism potential of the Kwahu Area will be further demonstrated by the commissioning of a District Tourism Office, in Mpraeso.
“The GTA Office will work in close collaboration with the District Chief Executives of Kwahu South and other surrounding districts and provide technical leadership in tourism product development, marketing, standards and quality control. It will also galvanize interest in domestic tourism among numerous segments of society to make Kwahu a leading cultural and leisure tourism destination in Ghana.”
She said in fulfillment of earlier promises made by the NDC Government, the Nkawkaw-Atibie Road is now being reshaped into a first class road by Messrs SONITRA.
She said work is ongoing and that stretch of the road is now closed to traffic. “This undoubtedly opens up the region for sustaining tourist interest, as well as, boosting of the local economy, thus improving upon quality of life of our people.”
“We have however reached an understanding with the contractors to allow the Paragliding operational vehicles that will shuttle pilots and passengers up and down the mountain limited access during the Easter to facilitate speedy recovery and launching of pilots”, she stated.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare reiterated that the Ghana Police at all levels, national, regional and district will as usual execute a comprehensive security and traffic management plan to ensure a peaceful, safe and secure Kwahu during the Easter festival period.
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