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General News of Thursday, 29 May 2008

Source: GNA

Upper West people told to change attitude

Wa, May 29, GNA - Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Lawra/Nandom, has said for any meaningful development to take place in the Upper West Region, there was the need for the people to change their attitude.

He said while it was easy and sometimes more convenient to blame external forces for the predicament of the region, it was important for the people to assess how they relate to each other in the region. "Is it not that we devote too much time and energies for self destruction and idle talks, caused inhuman wrongs against each other towards common purpose projects"? Dr. Kunbuor asked. Dr. Kunbuor was speaking on "Investment opportunities in the Upper West Region - A case for tourism" as part of activities to mark the silver jubilee of the region in Wa on Thursday. He said for the tourism industry to grow and become beneficial, people in the region must sustain the prevailing peace at all cost to attract investors.

He said there was the need for stakeholders in the tourism industry to turn the tourism potentials of the region into opportunities.

Dr. Kunbuor said difficulties with the tourism industry in the region were not about availability of sites but the need to document facts to give some meaning and credible story lines to these sites "What we have currently are as many stories as there are storytellers on each site. We should conceptually not confuse historical sites with tourism sites".

He said any site activity becomes an attraction for tourists if it was accompanied by other facilities such as good roads, hospitality industry, good utility services, good health delivery system, financial and banking facilities.

"Tourism industry has to be consciously developed. It is not one of God's bounties. Human industry is required to bring it about". He said unless people in the region wanted to encourage poverty tourism where tourists would have the opportunity to take pictures of children with stunted growth and protruding stomachs due to malnutrition, something has to be done about food security in the region.

Dr. Kunbuor called for the development of slave routes and markets and other sites associated with the slave trade while district assemblies should make efforts to select two of their tourist sites and commit themselves to turning them into tourism opportunities. He called on youth associations to commit themselves to the development of tourist attraction within their communities, using human, financial and other materials resources to develop and invest in the site.

Dr. Kunbuor called on communities in the region to pool resources for entrepreneurial development of the region He said the 2004 budget statement gave incentive packages for investors who would establish businesses in the northern regions. Dr. Kunbuor said no business enterprise had been established in the region since the granting of such incentives and that tax incentives alone had never been a strong pull of investments. He expressed regret that for the past few years, political leaders of the region have not offered the unity of purpose needed for development and urged them lead in the campaign for development of the region.

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