The Airstrip which will take light aircrafts when completed is expected to boost tourism in the Region.
During an inspection of the land Tuesday, Aviation Minister Cecilia Dapaah told Joy News the intention of government is to “open the country up to investors and tourists.”
“We will start with an airstrip…later on when we get a lot of funding we can develop it into a tarmac which will take bigger aircrafts,” the Minister said.
The Region has two of its major tourist sites – Kakum National Park and Elmina Castle – on the UNESCO World Heritage map. Tourism remains one of the major contributors to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the total contribution of travel and tourism to the country’s economy was GHS6.24 billion ($1.73 billion) in 2013 or 7.2 percent of GDP.
This has been estimated to triple by 2024 but there remains one major challenge, accessibility to the tourist sites.
The roads to the Kakum National Park and Elmina Castle, as well as other tourist sites in the country, are untarred creating difficulties for tourists.
The only means of transport for tourists who wish to visit sites in the Central Region is by road. This means they will have to spend long torturous hours on the Accra-Cape Coast Highway before getting to their destination.
This, the Aviation Minister said, informed government’s decision to construct the Airstrip in the Region.
“We don’t want people to sit in the plane for eight hours and come and drive through Bujumbura to visit Kakum National Park or Elmina Castle,” Cecilia Dapaah said.
The completion of the Airstrip will afford tourists the opportunity to join a lighter aircraft to the Region upon arrival at the Kotoka International Airport, she said, adding it will help to eliminate the harassment they go through.
The Minister appealed to residents of Cape Coast to desist from encroaching on the land “so that we can have an open space to develop the aviation industry in this Region”