the Kassena Nankana District of the Upper East Region. The two attractions have been documented in several brochures and the website of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), contributing to the good patronage they have been witnessing.
The two ponds-the Chief Pond and the Zenga Pond, which are located at opposite sides of the main Navrongo- Paga Highway, according to the GTA office in Bolgatanga, generated a total of GH¢5,736.50 in 2010 and in the 1st quarter of 2011, the total number of visitors within the period was 3,577 people made up of 2,748 residents and 829 non-residents.
Mr Speaker, the popularity of the two attractions, especially the Page Crocodile Ponds can be attributed to their location on a major transit highway between the land-locked countries of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
Mr Speaker, good infrastructure is a prerequisite for the development of any tourist attraction. That is why the Ministry of Tourism is committed to ensuring that basic infrastructure is provided at these sites.
However, Mr Speaker, since tourism development is mainly a private sector- driven activity, the Ministry has always encouraged private individuals to invest in the development of tourism infrastructure since by so doing, the small and medium-scale tourism enterprises such as hotels, restaurants, entertainment] recreational facilities, souvenirs, shops and transport services will be created to, among others, create jobs, provide income to operators in these sectors and improve the local economies of these areas.
Currently, the District Assembly has provided a modest visitor center with facilities such as washrooms, restaurant, information office and entertainment area,
where cultural performances are held. The Ministry intends to expand the facility to meet required standard in future if resources are available.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry and the GTA are also working closely with the Kassena Nankana West District Assembly and other stakeholders to promote tourism in this district and in other Districts across the country in view of the socio-economic benefits that tourism development brings. The Ministry will also provide training and capacity building for service providers to improve standards and quality service to tourists.
Mr Speaker, under PNDC Law 237, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have greater responsibility for urban and sub-urban infrastructural development. The Ministry has, recently, therefore, appealed to the MMDAS to invest in tourism development since such investment will inure to the benefit of their people, in terms of job creation, revenue generation and the overall development of their respective districts. MMDAs including the Kessena Nankana West District Assembly, in particular, are hereby called upon to incorporate tourism development in their annual plans and budgets.
Finally, Mr Speaker, permit me to use this platform to invite the participation of all stakeholders, including the private sector, to contribute to the sustainable development of tourism, not only in the Kassena Nankana District, but in other parts of the country.