By Cliff Ekuful
Jirapa — Catherine-Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture
The Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Cosy Hills Hotel, Mr. Eric Johnson has expressed his company’s readiness to partner the Ghana Tourism Authority to develop the tourism potentials of the Upper West Region.
According to him the region abound in huge tourism potential that could be tapped for the development of the region as a whole and equally place it on the tourism map of the country.
“For years the lack of hotel facilities has been identified as a gap in Upper West’s tourism development. We identified the absence of available accommodation for tourists in this part of the country as a weakness that needed to be addressed,” he stressed.
Mr. Johnson disclosed this at the first general meeting of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs held here on Thursday.
The meeting, the first of its kind to be held outside the regional capital since the inception of the house was under the auspices of the management of the Royal Cozy Hill Hotel.
Royal Cozy Hill popularly known as “Jirapa Dubai” is the first four-star standard hotel to be established in the region and the meeting was to afford the chiefs the opportunity to see the place and foster collaboration with them to develop the tourism potential of the area.
Mr. Johnson explained that accommodation was a critical component in the tourism sector; therefore for the region to be considered tourism hub there was the need for the GTA to promote the establishment of first class accommodation facilities across the region.
He said all over the world hotels were considered important economic establishments that had huge multiplier effect for the people around its immediate catchment area and also for the national economy.
“We recognised that the benefits that this new hotel will bring to the community, in terms of economic development and job creation are enormous and that was why we decided to invest here in the region,” he said.
Mr. Johnson said the establishment of the Royal Cozy Hill Hotel has already created new job opportunities for the vibrant local labour force in the region.
“More than 60 per cent of Royal Cosy’s workforce currently commutes to our project site and we believe there is a substantial workforce to draw from within our own community,” he stressed.
He said the establishment of the hotel in the region could change the negative outlook of tourism in the region and begin to attract visitors for longer stays from all parts of the globe.
The CEO also noted that as part of the hotels contribution to the development of the sector, it was considering investing into ecotourism as a component of the project.
He therefore appealed to traditional rulers and local assemblies in the region to partner him by integrating ideals of conservation and preservation of the remnants of tourist sites which were in deplorable states.
On his part, the President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton VI commended the CEO of the facility for choosing to come and invest in the region.
He said there were many sons and daughters of the soil who have had greater opportunities to come and invest in the region of their birth in order to help develop the local economy but rather decided to invest in other areas than the region.
“We should all commend and learn from this selfless personality for this investment in Jirapa, his hometown. Other citizens of the region have invested elsewhere for good returns on their investments, but he has chosen to contribute to the local economy of Jirapa by investing to attract tourists, create jobs and promote ecotourism,” he emphasised.
Kuoro Kanton who is also the Paramount Chief of the Tumu traditional area also appealed for support for him and recommended the facility to tourists and all visitors who visit the region.