The potential for eco-tourism in Atiwa
Atiwa is the nearest rainforest to Accra. A Rocha Ghana shares the vision of many state and non-state agencies that Atiwa has great potential for eco-tourism. Early assessments done by the Forestry Commission of Ghana has revealed that Atiwa has unique natural, cultural and historical resources that could be harnessed through ecotourism for the socio-economic development of the area.
The resources include:
At present the area lacks people with the necessary training and experience to run tourism programmes but there is a large labour pool. Essential facilities such as accommodation and catering services are not yet up to the required standard, as facilities fall into the budget category, with a very limited number of rooms (CI-Ghana 2002). This need not be a real problem considering the proximity of the area to Accra and Koforidua where standard facilities exist. Hygienic conditions at drinking bars and food selling places would need a lot of improvement (CI-Ghana 2002).
Thirty communities have been selected for the implementation of the Atiwa Critical Conservation Action Project. The choice of communities was informed by a scoping exercise conducted by A Rocha Ghana in November 2012. During the scoping it was observed that Atiwa Forest Reserve was surrounded by more than 40 settlements with an estimated population of about 750,180 according to the 2000 national population and housing census report (MLF, 2002). The 30 Project communities were chosen in consultation with key stakeholders in the project area including the District Assembly and the Forestry Service Division based on such factors as:
List of communities selected for the Atiwa Sensitization Program