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The festival must not only be about paragliding
The festival must not only be about paragliding

Kwahu Easter festival takes a nose-dive

This year's Kwahu Easter festival seems to be taking a nose-dive.


This is primarily due to the harsh economic situation in the country and low publicity, as compared to last year, making many people unaware of the event. 

The Kwahu Easter festivities, which are popularly dubbed "Kwahu ooo Kwahu", is a period where Kwahus who hail from the Eastern Region -both in Ghana and abroad- undertake a homeward journey to their ancestral home in towns on the Kwahu Scarp such as Mpraeso, Obomeng, Oboo, Abetifi, Ntesu and Abane, the traditional headquarters of the paramountcy.

During this period, the Kwahu indigenes have fun interacting with relatives, celebrate traditional marriages and raise funds to provide social amenities in their respective towns. Other non-Kwahus, including foreign tourists, also troop to the area for fun such as taking part in paragliding on top of the Odweanoma Mountain.

Generally, it seems people were not enthused to be in the Kwahu area to take part in the celebrations this year. Meanwhile, the chiefs in the Kwahu Traditional Area have expressed concern about how the paragliding festival is held during Easter in the area by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).

They have, thus, called on the GTA to come out with innovative programmes to make the annual Kwahu Easter festivities more relevant, instead of the current situation where revellers are only flown from the Odweanoma Mountain at Atibie to the encircled area before landing at the Nkawkaw Sports Stadium.

The chiefs expressed their concerns about the paragliding festival when the GTA launched the 2024 Paragliding Festival at Abene, the traditional headquarters of the paramountcy, last Monday.

The launch was also in partnership with the Kwahu Traditional Council, the Kwahu South Municipal Assembly and the Kwahu Tourism Initiative. The Krontihene of the traditional area, Nana Simpeh Owiredu III, who represented the Omanhene of the Kwahu Traditional Area, Daasebre Akuamoah Agyapong, said apart from lack of innovations at the festival to make it more relevant and attractive to both local and foreign tourists, there were no social amenities to help boost tourism in the area.

Nana Owiredu III stated, for instance, that it would be ideal for the GTA to put up the needed social amenities, such as a modern community centre, which would be beneficial for public gatherings and during festivities.

He stressed that gliding during the festival, after which visitors left, was not serving any purpose for the indigenous people and communities. "If this does not change and innovations are brought in, there will be a time when people will no longer patronise the paragliding festival," he stated.

The Krontihene said apart from that, no Kwahu indigene had been trained to be part of the gliders and that most of the pilots were foreigners. That, he indicated, also made it unattractive to the locals.

Concerning the road network in the area, Nana Owiredu III noted that most of them were in bad shape, especially the roads linking the paragliding site at Atibie and Abene.
He stated that for the promotion of tourism in the Kwahu area to be impactful, it was important to rehabilitate the roads.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of operations of the GTA, Ekow Sampson, who launched this year's paragliding festival, said it was the 17th edition and had become an international event attracting 1,000 tourists into the country for memorable experiences.

He said the festival played a pivotal role in boosting domestic tourism, creating opportunities for jobs such as the sale of artefacts by residents. As part of the planning and preparation, Mr Sampson said the GTA had also met with stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality value chain, as well as other allied agencies, to discuss pertinent issues regarding this year’s event.

He called on the media to collaborate effectively with the GTA and the sector ministry to promote the festival, and tourism in general, to attract more tourists to the area. An indigene, Kwame Karikari, who was at the festival last year, told The Mirror that he would not visit Kwahu this year because of the economic hardship he was facing.

Apart from that, he said no innovation had been added to the activities. He said the enthusiasm usually associated with the festival had dwindled and that if something was not done about it, it would not be of any relevance.

Before the start of the festivities, Mr KariKari indicated, some service providers and traders from all walks of life sold their wares in Kwahu to cash in on the economic opportunities that came with the celebrations.

A Kwahu indigene who just arrived from the United States of America (USA), Richard Benson, told The Mirror that he visited because of the celebrations. He expressed dissatisfaction about the ‘one-way’ celebrations and appealed to the GTA to include more exciting activities to further encourage the people to continue to patronise the festival every year.

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