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Garden of Eden at Bawdie
 
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29-Oct-2009  
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Over the years, there have been various Interventions to address the destruction of the ecosystem and conservation of the environment
through ecotourism which appears to be more fascinating among the interventions.

That is because apart from protecting the ecosystem, particularly endangered plant and animal species, ecotourism also facilitates a reunification of man and nature. Ecotourism, is all about travelling to fragile, pristine, and usually, protected areas for various reasons, such as adventure, pleasure and education. Ghana could boast of a few ecotourism sites, notably, the Aburi Gardens in the Eastern Region and the Kakum National Park in the Central Region. Visit to the Kakum National Park and Aburi Gardens has always been a fascinating experience.

So to imagine an ecotourism site with the potential to surpass what those two revered tourism destinations could offer; is most tickling and, perhaps, mind blowing. That is the promise Bawdie Arboretum Resort holds for the ecotourism industry in the country.

Located at Bawdie in the Western Region, the 28.9-acre project may be one of the largest privately-owned ecotourism site in the country. The project was initiated 20 years ago by' a conservationist, Mr Davit! Adjei, who kept collecting endangered plant and animal species from across the country over the years for nurturing and conservation.

From the Forestry Department, the Plant Genetic Research Institute of Ghana at Bunso and the Aburi Gardens, Mr Adjei spent enormous time and fortune collecting plant seedlings tor cultivation in the hitherto degraded forest. Endangered species of timber, herbal plants and spices, as well as deer, antelope, grass cutter, monkey and crocodile could be found in their natural conditions within the fenced eco-tourism site. "I'm motivated by the desire to conserve the environment and promote eco-tourism in the country;' he says. The Bawdie Arboretum Resort is very unique in many respects.

Apart from being privately- owned. unlike the Kakum National Park and the Aburi Gardens, the vision underpinning the resort is to create a blend between Kakum National Park and Aburi Garden, where visitors could interact with plants and animals at the same time and at a very close range. For purposes of such interaction, there are no wild animals within the site.

The innovation is quite intriguing as it presents an opportunity for man to share some memorable moments with nature. Although the reserve is still being developed, it is most refreshing to savour its serenity.

Apart from officials of the Forestry Commission, who provide assistance occasionally, Mr Adjei has developed the site all by himself, but he admits he requires help to properly label the trees and plants, as well as funding to further develop the place. His vision is to create a library of information on every plant within the site, including their medicinal and economic-values.

That will give visitors some form of education in addition to the pleasure or adventure they may seek at the resort.

Although the site is not officially opened to the general public, jt is already attracting impressive patronage, and Mr Adjei hopes when it is eventually opened (very soon), the GH20 million project will be the toast of both local and foreign eco-tourists.

"I'm convinced that when 1t gets to its right level, people will patronise it. I know if you don't crawl, you cannot run; so I'm sure. one day I will achieve my vision;' he remarks.

Mr Adjei was the recipient of a 2005 Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) Award for outstanding contribution to tourism development in the Western Region. However, that honour meant nothing to him now. He thinks his ambition to leave a legacy for posterity by putting Bawdie on the world tourism map will be a very befitting honour.

With the kind of vision driving the Bawdie Arboretum Reserve, the achievement of that ambition is within reach. Indeed, it will not be outrageousto assume that the Garden of Eden is' being restored at Bawdie in Ghana.

However, one thing that is likely to take away the shine from this laudable project is the bad nature of the Tarkwa-Bawdie-Kumasi Road. Travelling on that bumpy and dusty road is extremely frustrating and hellish. Not many tourist would be, enthused to go and pay such a price of torture just
to reunite with nature.

As Ghana strives to become the most preferred tourism destination in West Africa with a target of attracting one million foreign tourists into the country by 120 12, it is imperative for the government to
tackle road networks that lead to tourism sites.

One of the key challenges identified in the National Tourism Marketing Strategy 20092012 document is poor accessibility to and from tourism sites outside the major cities in the country.

This has created a situation where the accessible tourism
sites are over-patronised whereas the inaccessible ones are neglected. That is not the way to become the most preferred tourism destination in the sub-region.

By increasing access to all tourism sites through the development of the road network, more tourists will be attracted to those places, the local communities will benefit from direct employment and other economic activities and-the nation will be the Apart from officials of the Forestry Commission, who provide assistance occasionally, Adjei has developed the site all by himself, but he admits he requires help to properly label the trees and plants, as well as funding to further develop the place.

His vision is to create a library of information on every plant within the site, including their medicinal and economic-values.

That will give visitors some form of education in addition to the pleasure or adventure they may seek at the resort. Although the site is not officially opened to the general public, it is already attracting impressive patronage, and Mr Adjei hopes when it is eventually opened (very soon), the GH20 million project will be the toast of both local and foreign eco -tourists. "I'm convinced that when 1t gets to its right level, people will patronise it. I know if you don't crawl, you cannot run; so I'm sure. one day I will achieve my vision;' he remarks.

Mr Adjei was the recipient of a 2005 Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) Award for outstanding contribution to tourism development in the Western Region. However, that honour meant nothing to him now. He thinks his ambition to leave a legacy for posterity by putting Bawdie on the world tourism map will be a very befitting honour.

With the kind of vision driving the Bawdie Arboretum Reserve, the achievement of that ambition is within reach. Indeed, it will not be outrageous to assume that the Garden of Eden is' being restored at Bawdie in Ghana. However, one thing that is likely to take away
the shine from this laudable project is the bad nature of the Tarkwa-Bawdie-Kumasi Road. Travelling on that bumpy and dusty road is extremely frustrating and hellish. Not many tourist would be, enthused to go and pay such a price of torture just to reunite with nature.

As Ghana strives to become the most preferred tourism destination in West Africa with a target of attracting one million foreign tourists into the country by 120 12, it is imperative for the government to tackle road networks that lead to tourism sites. One of the key challenges identified in the National Tourism Marketing Strategy 20092012 document is poor accessibility to and from tourism sites outside the major cities in the country.

This has created a situation where the accessible tourism sites are over-patronised whereas the inaccessible ones are neglected. That is not the way to become the most preferred tourism destination in the sub- region. By increasing access to all tourism sites through the development of the road network, more tourists will be attracted to those places, the local communities will benefit from direct employment and other economic activities and the nation will be the ultimate beneficiary.
 
 
 
Source: Article: Daily Graphic
 
 

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