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Sustainable Eco-Tourism development in Ghana: A case study of Lake Bosumtwi



JUNE 2003



ECO-TOURISM AND DEVELOPMENT 1.0 INTRODUCTION Eco-tourism offers a tremendous opportunity to provide a less consumptive source of

income from natural resources, improved local standards of living, foster cultural exchange and understanding and promote bio-diversity conservation. This view is upheld

by IUCN (1996) which stated that ecotourism: "

and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features - both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-

economic involvement of local populations."

environmentally responsible travel


Gunn (1994) sees tourism as encompassing all travel with the exception of commuting." McIntosh and Goeldner (1986) say that "tourism can be defined as the science, art, and business of attracting and transporting visitors, accommodating them, and graciously catering to their needs and wants. Tourism according to Mieczkowski (1995) since the Second World War has grown at an unprecedented pace faster than most other economic sectors and has developed into arguably the world‟s largest industry. Its contribution to the economies of nations is in the areas of providing employment and earning foreign exchange, which for Ghana ranks only behind cocoa exports revenue.

Ecotourism has been marketed as a form of nature-based tourism, but it has also been studied as a sustainable development tool by NGOs, development experts and academics since 1990. The term ecotourism, therefore, refers on one hand to a concept based on a set of principles, and on the other hand to a specific market segment. The International Ecotourism Society in 1991 produced one of the earliest definitions: "ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of local people."

Thus it is a development strategy, which can help in the attainment of local development, however the activities of man is impeding the growth of eco-tourism and its obvious


benefits to the local economy and the nation as a whole.In June 1992, with much pomp, leaders of 178 nations gathered in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the Earth Summit, with the goal of mobilising, coordinating and financing international action on an ambitious agenda to help preserve and protect the global environment. At the earth summit several treaties and conventions were signed by nations promoting sustainable development.

However the so-called road from Rio has turned out to be a lost highway. This is manifested in the situation where massive areas of woodland and forest are falling to the chain saw, while countries are haggling over terms of treaties. Further, agreement and conventions forged are not being fully implemented (Time Magazine, Special Edition Nov.1997). Though Ghana is a signatory to conventions and treaties on protecting biodiversity, endangered species, tropical forests, wetlands, and the ozone layer, deforestation, overgrazing, and periodic drought have led to desertification and soil erosion. Ghana‟s wildlife populations, depleted by habitat loss, are further threatened by poaching.

In the late 19th century, in the then Gold Coast, hardwood forests covered the southern half of the country. Considerable portions of these once-extensive forests have been destroyed, and today about 39.7 percent (estimated in 1995) of the country is forested. Not all of these forests are commercially viable, however about 1.3 percent (1990-1996)

commercially viable, however about 1.3 percent (1990-1996) of the remaining forest is lost every year (Encarta

of the remaining forest is lost every year (Encarta 2003). According to Inkoom (1999) it is widely acknowledged that Ghana is losing its forests resources rapidly due to unsustainable exploitation and poor farming practices.

1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT In the light of these developments, Ghana has earmarked the tourism sector, which largely depends on the environment and culture and to some extent history, to play a leading role in the drive to develop, based on increased investment and growth. This view was echoed by the sector Minister, when he indicated that the government has started the implementation of strategies to make the tourism sector, the leading employer and


economic sector and the second leading foreign exchange earner, by increasing tourists arrivals to one million by the year 2007 (Daily Graphic, Monday May 20.)

However the focus of the nation has been lob-sided, as emphasis has most often been placed on historical or heritage, cultural and conference tourism, with little emphasis on ecological tourism, though it helps preserve ecological processes, bio diversity and biological resources and promotes improved land use patterns and environmental consciousness due to its heavy reliance on the afore-mentioned natural processes and resources and its inherent advantages of ensuring the development of the local economy. The eco-tourism sub-sector mainly relies on the preservation of natural phenomena and resources to attract tourist into the country to generate the required foreign exchange and play the role it has been allotted in national development. This is to be done in a situation of continuous plunder of the natural resource base of the country, a factor that might hinder the performance of the sub-sector.

Hence, any attraction that has been earmarked for development in the drive to promote tourism needs to be assessed for its viability and sustainability over time. The Lake Bosumtwi basin, has been a tourism attraction for a long time with very little research being conducted on its sustenance and for how long it can be relied on to attract tourists. Inability to conduct research on the sustainability of the attraction may result in overstepping the capacity of the attraction which results in eco-tourism destroying the environment and hence eco-tourism.

Eco-tourism should necessarily be conducted in a sustainable manner in order to attain its much talked about benefits. Hence, eco-tourism should meet all the requirement of sustainable development. Turner (1988) conceptualizes sustainable development within a framework of an acceptable economic growth and socio economic development without depleting the national capital stock or the natural environmental asset stock. Also Allen (1980) views it as “development that is likely to achieve lasting satisfaction of human life. Similarly, the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Worldwide Fund


for Nature define sustainable development as “improving the quality of life while living in the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems.”(ICUN/UNEP/WWF, 1991)


The main purpose of this special study was to assess the sustainability of the Lake Bosumtwi as an ecological tourism destination in terms of social, environmental and economic sustainability, which constitutes the three principles of sustainable development. Being one of the few ecological tourism sites in the country, its sustainability would in a way determine the overall sustainability of the tourism sector, which is taking centre stage in generating revenue for the country. Thus, the objectives of

this study are outlined as follows:


To assess the socio-economic impact of eco-tourism on the people in the lake area.


To assess the cultural impact of eco-tourism in the communities.


To assess the environmental impact of eco-tourism development in the lake area.


To assess the general sustainability of the site based on the prevailing socio- economic and environmental conditions in the lake basin.



The study is limited to the communities in the Lake Bosumtwi basin and the development of the lake into an ecological tourism destination and its subsequent impact on the socio-

cultural and economic lives of the people.


The study was carried out through an initial desk study on available literature and subsequent field visits to the lake area and interactions with inhabitants of the nearby settlements. Questionnaires were also administered to a sample population to gather information on living conditions around the lake. Further semi-structured questionnaires were administered in stakeholder institutions. There are twenty-two settlements along the banks of the lake, of similar characteristics. The sample population of ninety was taken from five of the settlements selected at random. Eighteen people were then interviewed in each of the five settlements. At this stage quota sampling was adopted, interviewing nine


males and nine females in each of the settlements. The sample size was obtained by using a formula deduced by Achinah (2001), which is presented below:


N 1 N ( e ) 2 h
) 2
1 n







Where n is the sample size “N” is the sampling frame or total population “e” is the maximum allowable error, based on the confidence level chosen “h” is the average household size The advantage of combining the various sampling methods was to reduce cost, time as well as collect data that reflects the situation in all the settlements.


Due to constraints with respect to cost and time, the study was restricted to a sample chosen from the entire population. Hence its application to the entire population may not be accurate.


The report was prepared and categorized into five chapters. Chapter one involves a general introduction of the work, problem statement, objectives and research methodology among others. Chapter two is primarily concerned with review of available literature on Lake Bosumtwi. Data collected through primary and secondary sources is presented and analysed in chapter three. Findings and recommendations are embodied in chapter four, with summary and conclusion taking up chapter five.





This part of the study deals with the amount of research work that has been carried out on the field of study and the institutions that have been involved in the promotion of ideas in the eco-tourism sub-sector.

2.1 What is tourism?

Taken literally, tourism is defined as “the organization and operation of (especially) foreign holidays especially as a commercial enterprise(Oxford Reference Dictionary, 1995). The Cambridge International Dictionary (1995) defines tourism as “the business of providing services such as transport, places to stay or entertainment, for people who are on holiday.”

Gunn (1994) believes that tourism "encompasses all travel with the exception of commuting." McIntosh and Goeldner (1986) say that "tourism can be defined as the science, art, and business of attracting and transporting visitors, accommodating them, and graciously catering to their needs and wants." They also introduce the notion that tourism is interactive in that they believe that "tourism may be defined as the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the interaction of tourists, business suppliers, host governments, and host communities in the process of attracting and hosting these tourists and other visitors (p. 4). D'Amore (1987), Taylor (1988), and Dann (1988) say that tourism is not only an interactive process but also a vehicle for world peace.

Contrary to the opinions expressed above, Nash (1989, pp. 37-52) views tourism as a "form of imperialism." He sees it as a dichotomy of the have and the have nots with lesser developed countries serving the pleasures of the more developed countries. For the purpose of this study tourism was considered to be attracting visitors and catering for their needs and promoting interaction between the host communities and the visitors for mutual benefit.


2.2 What is eco-tourism?

Though eco-tourism lacks one clear definition, it has been classified by the International

Eco-tourism Society (1991) as: "… responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people". In addition, In addition, the World Conservation Union (1996) defined eco-tourism as "…visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas …has low negative visitor impact and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations". Though there are various definitions of what is meant by eco-tourism, some characteristics come to the fore as salient ones. These are were in May 2000, as part of the side events on the 8th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 8), when groups of Indigenous Peoples Organizations, NGOs and other members of Civil Society provided a proposal on guidelines for ecotourism and decided that eco-tourism is sustainable tourism, which follows clear processes that:

is sustainable tourism, which follows clear processes that: Ensures prior informed participation of all stakeholders,

Ensures prior informed participation of all stakeholders,

Ensures prior informed participation of all stakeholders, Ensures equal, effective and active participation of all

Ensures equal, effective and active participation of all stakeholders, Acknowledges indigenous peoples communities' rights to say "no" to tourism development - and to be fully informed, effective and active participants in the development of tourism activities within the communities, lands, and territories, and Promotes processes for Indigenous Peoples and local communities to control and maintain their resources.

local communities to control and maintain their resources. 2.3 Sustainable Tourism or Eco-Tourism According to Koeman
local communities to control and maintain their resources. 2.3 Sustainable Tourism or Eco-Tourism According to Koeman

2.3 Sustainable Tourism or Eco-Tourism

According to Koeman (1995),"eco-tourism" is a relatively new idea that has dramatically captured the attention of many people from a variety of backgrounds. It seems to be a catch-all word that has different meaning to different persons. To some it means ecologically-sound tourism; to others it is synonymous with nature tourism, alternative, appropriate, responsible, ethical, green, environmentally friendly or sustainable tourism. Despite the continued debate about exactly what eco-tourism entails, it seems that most agree that Eco-tourism must be a force for sustaining natural resources. Eco-tourism is nature travel that advances conservation and sustainable development efforts.


Eco-tourism is distinguished from other forms of educational or nature based tourism by a high degree of environmental and ecological education. Eco-tourism contains a significant portion of human wilderness interaction that, coupled with the education provided, tend to transform tourists into strong advocates for environmental protection. Eco-tourism practice minimises the environmental and cultural impacts of visitors, ensures that financial benefits flow to host communities and places a special emphasis on financial contribution to conservation efforts.

"Sustainable tourism" is often equated with nature or eco-tourism; but sustainable tourism development means more than protecting the natural environment - it means proper consideration of host peoples, communities, cultures, customs, lifestyles, and social and economic systems. It is tourism that truly benefits those who are on the receiving end, and that does not exploit and degrade the environment in which they live and from which they must earn a living after the last tourist has flown back home. It is tourism that enhances the material life of local communities, without causing a loss of traditional employment systems, acculturation or social disruption.

Thus tourism is brought within the debate on sustainable development in general. Sustainable development (and therefore sustainable tourism) takes into account three central points:

the necessary interactions between the environment and economic activity; long-term time scale; and inter- as well as intra-generational equity - providing for the needs of current societies without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To sum up, Koeman (1995), states that “it is important to note that eco tourism can be, but is not automatically a form of sustainable tourism. To achieve sustainable eco- tourism involves balancing economic, environmental and social goals within an ethical framework of values and principles

economic, environmental and social goals within an ethical framework of values and principles ” 2.4 Tourism
economic, environmental and social goals within an ethical framework of values and principles ” 2.4 Tourism
economic, environmental and social goals within an ethical framework of values and principles ” 2.4 Tourism

2.4 Tourism in Ghana


Tourism is one of the country‟s expanding service activities. The most important tourist destinations are the colonial fortresses at Cape Coast and Elmina, which were once major transhipment points for tens of thousands of slaves on their way to the New World.

Tourism in Ghana can be traced to the first visit of Don Diego d‟Azambuja when he set his foot on the shores of Elmina, then known as Edina in search of spices and other exotic things not found in his own country Portugal. Since then tourism has grown to assume great dimensions to encompass heritage or cultural, historical, conference and ecological tourism.

Tourists to Ghana are now welcomed by an array of attractions including the Independence Arch, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the European Forts and Castles along the coast, the Aburi Botanical Gardens in the Eastern Region, the Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary with its waterfall, Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary, Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary and the Manhyia Palace can be found in the Ashanti Region. The craft villages of Anhwia and Bonwire, where „kente‟ is woven and the Pankronu pottery village are also located in the Ashanti Region. In the northern region tourists can visit the Larabanga Mosque, ruins of the Nalerigu Defence Wall and the Salaga Slave Market.

Ghana has become a destination for almost all forms of tourism, as is evidenced in the holding of the African-African-American Summit, the Homecoming Summit all falling under conference tourism. Also, the Pan-African Arts Festival which is held biennially helps some people in the Americas trace their roots and constitutes heritage tourism. Historical tourism is one area that Ghana has been noted for worldwide, being home to twenty-nine of the thirty-two castles and forts the Europeans used in the obnoxious slave trade. These forts are widely visited by the African-American who find the experience traumatic. These include the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles in the Central Region.

There are four unique attractions in the country, located in four different regions, which draw a large number of tourists annually, both local and foreign. These are; the Kakum National Park, with its canopy walkway, suspended about a hundred feet above the forest


floor, which is one of the three canopy walkways in the world. It is home to some endangered bird and animal species including Diana monkeys, Frazer-eagle owls, the African grey and Senegal parrots, elephants, bongos and the red river hog. In the Western Region, tourists can visit Nzulezu, a town built completely on stilts above water in a marshy area.

In the Ashanti Region is the country‟s only natural lake, Bosumtwi located in a crater amidst lush green hills, which is one of the seven meteor impact lakes in the world. The Mole Game Reserve established in 1971 and covering 1,870 square miles and home to ninety-three mammals including lions, elephants, baboons, Mona monkeys, buffaloes, hartebeests, warthogs and hippopotamuses, nine species of amphibians and thirty-three species of reptiles is found in the Northern Region.

Since the late 1980s the tourism sector has received considerable attention in the economic development strategy of Ghana. The numbers of tourist arrivals, as well as expenditure by tourists have steadily increased, while both public and private investment activity in various tourism sub-sectors have expanded.

The adoption of the Ghana Industrial Code, (1985) PNDCL 116, marked a serious start to tourism development in Ghana. The code offered concessions, incentives and guarantees to foreign investors, financiers, Ghanaian institutions and business entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in Tourism in Ghana. In 1987, the government adopted the National Tourism Policy, with the objectives of developing tourism to become a major contributor to the economy, through job creation and foreign exchange generation and to make tourism the bedrock of development and enhance Ghana environment and heritage.

The government established a Ministry of Tourism in 1993, now Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital, to underscore its commitment to tourism development, and with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), has prepared a 15-Year Tourism Development Plan for the period 1996 to 2010. The goals of this plan are outlined as follows:-


1. To lay the foundation for the qualitative takeoff of the tourism industry.

2. Develop an integrated tourism product and a positive image of Ghana as a destination.

3. Enhance visitor satisfaction and increase Ghana‟s share of the tourism market.

4. Promote leisure, travel as a major form of recreation among Ghana‟s populace.

5. Maximize the contribution of tourism to the economy in terms of foreign exchange and job creation.

6. Promote tourism as an option for rural development and national integration.

To be able to attain the above goals, and for ease of implementation, some strategies were drawn up, which ultimately leads to the goals. Principal among the strategies are the


1. Reviewing and updating of tourism policies to reflect ongoing trends and the growing importance of tourism to the economy

2. Reviewing the organisational structure of tourism administration especially the Ghana Tourist Board

3. Enhancing the tourism product through-

a. Enhancing selected tourism attractions based on heritage, ecological, ethno, adventure, conference and recreational tourism.

b. Upgrading the standard of existing receptive facilities.

c. Developing the basic infrastructure of tourism

d. Reviewing visa requirement for tourists

4. Recognizing the possible negative impacts of intensive tourism development on the environment, culture and applying measures to conserve historic sires, the natural environment and cultural traditions.

5. Enhancing delivery capacities of the public and private sector tourism institutions.

The decision to promote the tourism sector to play a leading role in the development of the country has been backed by action in various forms like fairs and conferences such as the Pan-African Fair for Arts and Music (PAFAM), PANAFEST- a biennial arts festival and the African-African American Summit. With the implementation of these strategies, the sector is expected to grow and play a leading role in the growth of the economy. The performance of the tourism sector over the years is presented in Table1







































Annual Average Growth Rate



Source: Ghana Tourist Board, 1999.

Spanning the period of 1985 to 1989, Ghana moved up from the seventeenth position to eighth in 1998 among the top 20 leading tourism revenue earners in Africa (WTO, 1999). Table 1 shows that international tourist arrivals in Ghana has increased steadily from nearly 114,000 in 1988 to about 399,000 in 2000, at an annual average growth rate of about 20 percent. With respect to tourist's expenditure, international tourism receipts grew at an average annual rate of 41.3 percent from about $55.3 million in 1988 to about $386.0 million in 2000. This makes Tourism the third largest earner of foreign exchange currently, ranking behind mineral and cocoa exports.

However the focus of the nation has been lob-sided, as emphasis has most often been placed on historical and cultural tourism, with little emphasis on ecological tourism, though it helps preserve ecological processes, bio diversity and biological resources and promotes improved land use patterns and environmental consciousness due to its heavy reliance on the afore-mentioned natural processes and resources. Hence in an effort to save the natural environment, the 15-year Tourism Development Plan has identified several national parks in each of the country's ten regions. These will be developed to form the basis for the country‟s eco-tourism product component of the tourism industry.


2.5 World bodies, the environment and eco-tourism Many interested organizations have pushed forward the idea of sustainable development; of primary importance is the United Nations. Thus in 1972 the United Nations established United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered in Nairobi, which played a leading role in the convening of leaders of nations for deliberation on environmental issues at Stockholm, Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro and Kyoto

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) encourages and coordinates sound environmental practices throughout the world. It grapples with ways to approach environmental problems on an international level, provides expertise to member countries, monitors environmental conditions worldwide, develops environmental standards, and recommends alternative energy sources. UNEP‟s work is guided by principles adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit. The summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was the largest such conference ever held, attracting with more than 100 national leaders. It was the third international environmental conference hosted by the UN.

The first UN environment conference took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. It adopted general environmental principles, such as the idea that one country‟s actions should not cause environmental damage to another. It also raised awareness about the international aspects of environmental damage. A second conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1982.

The 1992 Earth Summit was larger and more ambitious than its predecessors. Its major theme was sustainable economic development, meaning development that does not use up or destroy so many of the world‟s natural resources that it cannot be sustained over time. The meeting produced an overall plan, called Agenda 21, in which large developing countries promised to develop their industries with an eye toward protecting the environment. Another treaty adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit deals with the issue of biodiversitythat is, the variety of different living organisms in a particular habitat or geographic location. Under the treaty, nations agreed to preserve important habitats for


animals and plants. Wealthier countries also agreed to pay for the right to extract commercially profitable substances from rare species in protected areas of developing countries. It is in this vein that the UNDP, an agency of the United Nations aided the Ministry of Tourism to draw up the 15-Year National Tourism Development Plan, with the aim of conserving the environment as well as preserving tourism sites.

2.6 The role of the Lake in the local economy

The role of the lake in the development of its basin cannot be overemphasized. This is because, the people of the basin rely on the lake for their livelihood, as majority of inhabitants are fishermen and the women mostly engage in fish-mongering. A small proportion of the people engage in subsistence farming as a secondary activity along the banks of the lake (Ofosu 2002)

2.7 History of Tourism at Lake Bosumtwi

Ofosu (2002) indicates that tourism at the lake began as far back as 1919, when the first

Rest House was built on a hilltop at Esaase in the Amansie East District of Ashanti, however the interest of the people did not support the programme, hence it was short- lived. In 1927, another rest house was built at Kokwado, but difficulty in accessing the lake from the Rest House hampered the development o the tourism industry, until feeder roads were constructed to link the settlements along the banks, by the CPP, NRC and PP governments, opening up the area to the rest of the country and tourists in particular.

The benefits derived from the tourism industry by the lake area has mostly been in terms of monetary rewards for services provided for tourists and the increase in infrastructural facilities to support the communities in general and tourists in particular. This has taken the form of improved telecommunication facilities, improved road network, connecting almost twenty-two settlements in the Lake Bosumtwi Basin, and educational facilities.




3.0 Introduction

This part of the report is concerned with the presentation of data collected concerning the

lake as an eco-tourism destination and its people.

3.1 Location and size

Lake Bosumtwi is located in the Bosumtwi-Atwima-Kwanwoma District of the Ashanti Region, thirty-seven kilometers south-east of Kumasi at an altitude of one hundred and thirty metres above sea level. There are twenty four communities located around the thirty kilometer rim of the crater, which are located in two districts; Amansie East and Bosumtwi-Atwima-Kwanwoma Districts. The Lake covers an area of approximately sixty-four square kilometers, with a diameter of ten and a half kilometers and a recorded depth of sixty-eight in certain areas of the lake.

3.2 Hydrogeology of the Lake Bosumtwi area

Lake Bosumtwi was formed by a meteoric impact, which threw out some rocks from the crater. Rocks found in the area are mainly sedimentary and metamorphic with some granite intrusions. Rock samples collected alongside the banks of the lake and analysed by John Saul and Elliot (1965) revealed that they are similar to the Ivory Coast Tektites, which were discovered in 1960 and are believed to meteoric impact rocks.

According to Ofosu (2002), detailed work on the Bosumtwi crater by Jones (1981, 1985) has concluded from his chemical data, the main rocks that were involved in the production of the Bosumtwi impact glasses as well as Tektites were Phylites, greywacke, micro granites and grandiosities, Pepekese intrusions. The profile of the crater shows a crater with an upraised centre, and is shown in Figure 1



17 Figure 1: CONCEPTUAL CROSS-SECTION OF THE CRATER Credit: Jones et al (1981) The structure conceptualized

Credit: Jones et al (1981) The structure conceptualized was confirmed by a geophysical survey carried out by the Geological Survey of Finland in 1997. However, the nature of the structure beneath the crater and its surrounding area (that is, the existence of fractures and faults) is not yet known. Drainage in the lake area is mainly underground and is presumed dwindling and evaporation takes place daily, resulting in high salinity and thus helps sustain the life of fish in the lake. Two rivers flow directly into the Lake, Abrewa at Apew and Abo at Abono. The Lake is located in the Lower Birimian series, with a point in the Upper Birimian series in the Obuom Ranges as shown in Figure 2


a point in the Upper Birimian series in the Obuom Ranges as shown in Figure 2


3.2 Scientific explanatory research at Lake Bosumtwi

Barnes (1961), Cohen (1963) and Schnetzer et al (1966) are of the view that the age of the Bosumtwi crate has been established to be well over a million years based on Potassium-Argon and Rubidium-Strontium dating of impact meltrocks at Ivory Coast and Bosumtwi. To confirm Lake Bosumtwi‟s meteoric origin, geophysical measurements involving gravity, aeromagnetic survey were carried out at a mean flight height of 200m above sea level by Jones et al (1981).

Livingstone (1976) was able to unearth the reasons for the extermination of thousands of fish in the months of July and August, and attributed it to the gas produced during and after the decomposition of plant materials that are dumped by rain water in the lake. It also explained the variation in the fishing season, as fish move to the shallow parts of the lake for oxygen in these months, resulting in bumper catches. Further, research by Dr. D.A Livingstone from the University Of Durham, USA revealed a mass deposit of gas in economic quantities, under the lake, but warned of serious effects of exploration on plant and animal life in the lake.

3.3 Traditional and Political Administration

Each of the twenty-four communities has a chief. They are all under a paramount chief of the area. There are unit committees in each of the communities responsible for helping in

decision making and development. There are three assembly persons representing the communities at the Bosumtwi Atwima- Kwanwoma District Assembly.

The communities in the lake basin are Abono, Pipie I (Mim), Pipie II, New and Old Brodekwano are under Kuntanasehene, Amakom, under Akokofohene, Dompa under Ahurienhene, Duase, Ankaase, Anomanako and Obo under Kokofuhene (Okogyeasuo Offe Kwasi), Antaase, Apew, Detieso, Wawase and Esaase under Asamanhene (the real caretaker of the lake), Adwafo under Yaasehene, Abaase, Abrodwum, Adjaman under Abosohene, Nkowi and Assisiriwa under Nana Yaw Barima. There is however a controversy of the caretakership of Nkowi between the Yaasehene and Nana Yaw Barimah. This issue is yet to be resolved.


It will be of immense benefit t the lake area in general and to eco-tourism development in particular that peace prevails in the communities to enhance the attractiveness of the lake. This is because no meaningful development can occur in the midst of civil strive and unrest. Also, under a stable political or traditional head, it will be easier mobilizing the people to help in the conservation of the lake.

3.4 Social and Cultural life in the Lake Bosumtwi Basin The social and cultural life of the people around the lake is much in line with the Ashantis, being predominantly Ashantis, taking up approximately 84 percent of the population and the Fantis, from Senya Breku in the Efutu-Senya Breku District of the Central Region accounting for the remainder.

Puberty rites used to be widely practiced in the Bosumtwi Basin, and were a prerequisite for marriage; however with the passage of time, the practice is waning. Funerals, marriages and out-dooring of newly- born babies are the same as that practiced by Ashantis elsewhere festivals are observed in all the villages with the Akwasidae as the main one. The caretaker chiefs known locally as adikro in the communities, are allowed by the paramount chiefs to ride in palanquins during festival celebrations

Fetish groves are also outdoored at every Akwasidae and purification rites are performed according to the choice of the fetish priests. Some slaughter sheep, dogs, cats and goats to their gods. Others present mashed plantain with groundnuts. Belief in superstition used to be very strong in the area, but with the advent of Christianity is gradually being dropped. The fetish stone at Abrodwum served as a libation point when bad omen occurred and also during festivals. It is said that when the lake draws nearer to the stone, rituals are performed in the form of pouring of libations and the lake recedes.

The caretaker chiefs have their own traditional courts of arbitration which tried offenders in minor cases like stealing and assault, and fines are usually imposed on the convicted


offenders. Those who are dissatisfied with the ruling of the minor courts can appeal to the court of the paramount chiefs (Amanhene) for redress. Chiefs as usual speak only through linguists (Akyeame).

The tourism industry necessarily brings together people of diverse cultures to interact. However one of the tenets of eco-tourism is preservation of local traditions and culture, thus it becomes necessary to ensure that the activities of tourists do not in any way pose a threat to the preservation of local culture or does not in any way attempt to adulterate it. This is not the case of the Lake Bosumtwi, as tourists are not in any way controlled and stray where they are not wanted, and engage in activities that are contrary to the norms of the people. It must be noted that most of the foreign tourists who visit the lake are students and conservationist and thus acknowledge the need to as much as possible leave the culture of the local people untouched and hence authentic.

However the local tourists, and for that matter Ghanaian tourist to the lake are causing discomfort to the people as the youth are being exposed to indecent lifestyles portrayed by these local tourists who should have known better. A case in point is the display of nudity in public and an abhorrent activity of having sex in the lake in the full view of other tourists and the local people. This is a situation may result in rebellious youth and increase vice in the communities.

Thus, after the tourists have left, they would have left behind, a community in disarray due to their influence on the youth and subsequent clash of culture between the older generation‟s lifestyle and the youth‟s adulterated culture. This is contrary to the definition presented by Allen (1993), which emphasizes that eco-tourism practice minimises the environmental and cultural impacts of visitors.

3.4.1 Population Characteristics The population structure of the lake are is typical of most Ghanaian communities, with a large proportion falling into the age grouping 0-14years, then thinning out as it approaches the senile age group. The populace is a youthful and growing one, with


majority being females, accounting for fifty-one percent of the population. The age-sex distribution of the population is presented in Table 2.


Age Cohorts




Percentage (%)

















































































Source: Field Survey, 2003 Deducing from Table2, the dependency ratio was estimated, which shows a worse situation than that of Ashanti Region and the nation. This is presented in Table 3




Ashanti Region

Lake Basin









Dependency Ratio




Source: Field Survey, 2003 and 2000 Population and Housing Census Interim Report

The implication of having a higher age dependency ratio is that there is a greater likelihood of having less disposable income to save and thus invest. This is because income earned will most likely be used to cater for the large number of dependants. Hence, savings in the communities of the Lake Bosumtwi basin is expected to be low and subsequently capital formation for investment is also going to be low. This probably explains the low level of economic activities in the area.


The survey covered eighty-eight households and encompassed 449 people, indicating an average household size of 5.1 people per household; however it was realized that the modal household size is four. The distribution of the population, based on household sizes is presented in Table 4. TABLE 4: HOUSEHOLD SIZES

Household Size ( x )

Respondents ( f )

( fx )






































f =88


Source: Field Survey, 2003

Average House hold size =∑fx/∑f

Field Survey, 2003 Average House hold size =∑ fx /∑ f 449/88 = 5.1 people per

449/88 = 5.1 people per household

3.5 Economic Activities 3.5.1 Occupational characteristics People living around the lake are predominantly fishermen and carry out subsistent farming as a secondary occupation. It must be noted that all employed males were engaged in these two occupations and the women folk are also engaged in fish mongering and farming. Micro and small scale businesses like basket weaving, carpentry, tailoring and distillation of local gin are now developing in some of the communities.

From the survey conducted, the employment rate for the lake basin stands at ninety-two percent with the remaining eight percent unemployed being students and people under apprenticeship. Due to the nature of inputs used in their economic activities, it is very easy for people to get into the occupations.


The main occupation, fishing in the lake started with a crude method of fishing, using raffia cane to make the net used for fishing. These raffia cane nets did not last long and had to be replaced very often. Then bamboo was used with both ends open to allow fish into it , which was then trapped these methods are said to have persisted until 1927 when some fishermen from Senya- Breku in the Ewutu-Efutu-Senya District in the Central region migrated to the area and introduced the wire netting and cast netting. The fishermen use palm fronds as bait, forming a fence with it in the lake and setting the net in it. After some days, the palm fronds decay and produce food in the form of greenish algae for the fish which are trapped when they approach the fronds. The popular variety of fish found in the lake include Tilapia discolour, known locally as Kaabre, Satheroden mutifaciatus, Tilapia busmana, Hemichromis faciatus and Barbus, known locally as Apatefufuo, Papari, Komfo, and Nkwarespectively.

Attempts to introduce net specifications have not been fruitful, leading to a situation where even fingerlets (young fishes) are not spared by the fishing net, a practice which is partly responsible for the depletion of the fish stock in the lake.

The irresponsible behaviour of some fishermen in deciding to do away with the required net specification might in the long run deplete the fish stock in the lake and greatly offset the ecological balance in the area. Economically, it might lead to increased poverty level and general deprivation. Eco-tourism will come to an end, should this happen, as a result of the decreased attractiveness and uniqueness.

3.5.2 Income Levels Average household income in the Lake area is ¢260,000 drawn from earnings from farming and fishing. Based on the World Bank‟s classification of poverty, two levels were identified in the area; poverty line described as those earning below two-third of the average household income constitute 32.1 percent of the population, and hardcore poverty level described as those earning below one-third of the average household income constitute 11.5 percent. The distribution of incomes among the households in the lake area is presented in the Table 5.



Income / Month(¢ )

Midpoint ( x )

Response (f )


¢1,000 - ¢100,000
























Source: Field Study, 2003


Average Household Income =∑fx/∑f =¢20,339,000/78



The communities provide little service to tourists, thus gains very little from the

attraction. This is mostly earned by the craftsmen engaged in basket weaving in the lake

area, and the boat operators, who transport tourist on the lake for sight seeing.

Visitors to the lake area mostly carry their own food and water and do not depend on the

communities for the supply of their needs. Most of the local tourists to the area visit on

public holidays in large groups and usually bring along all they need and stay only for a

day. Foreign visitors to the area are mostly students and people interested in the scientific

nature of the attraction and usually lodge at the Hotel, where they are provided for. This

group of people conduct research and spend very little on other things and to a large

extent have little impact on the local economy.

The economic activities carried out in the lake area are all seasonal in nature and thus

earnings fluctuate with the seasons. The effect being that the standard of living in the area

is not stable; it rises and falls with the seasons. The fishing season last between July and

September, whiles the farming season also lasts between April and October, with the

fishing season breaking into it.

3.6 Infrastructural Facilities

3.6.1 Water and Sanitation

There are seven boreholes and five hand-dug well functioning in the twenty-four

communities along the lake crater, which is inadequate. Hence majority of the people

depend on rain water and the lake and the streams flowing onto it


The twenty four communities have three KVIPS and nineteen pit latrines, which due to the high soil water content are unreliable as they cave in regularly and have to be relocated frequently. Hence majority of the people defecate indiscriminately along the slopes and into the streams leading into the lake, a situation which has led to poor sanitation and increasing prevalence of dysentery, diarrhoea, cholera and also malaria. Due to the apparent lack of adequate potable water sources and the consequent use of water from the lake and the streams, indiscriminate defecation on the slopes of the crater results in faeces being washed into the water sources by runoff water from rainfall.

3.6.2 Health

There are three clinics and a dressing station in the lake area. However, almost all medical cases are reported to the Catholic Hospital in Pramso. The Catholic Hospital also provides mobile health service to the communities and helped train traditional birth attendants to assist pregnant women in the course of delivery. The leading diseases reported by respondents are sanitation-related like diarrhoea and cholera. Currently, the Hospital is providing maternal health service to the communities.

3.6.3 Education

There are nine nursery schools, nine primary schools and five junior secondary schools located within the twenty four communities. In settlements with no schools, pupils walk to the nearest community with a school to attend school, covering an average distance of about two kilometers.

Of the sample population covered, 67.5 percent have attained formal education up to the primary level, 7.6 percent up to secondary level and 2.9 up to tertiary level. 22.1 percent of the population have no formal education whatsoever, and illiteracy rate is estimated in the twenty-four communities is 60 percent, indicating that not all the people who had formal education can read and write in English or any of the Ghanaian languages, mainly due to dropping out of school along the line. Educational attainment of respondents and members of their households is presented below in Table 6.




Middle/ J.S.S





























Source: Field Survey, 2003.

The tourism industry has not opened the area fully, with only Abono being connected by a road in good condition to Kuntanase, the district capital. All the other twenty-three communities are connected together by a ring road in a deplorable situation. The ring road is not surfaced and not motorable in the rainy season, hampering health care delivery by the Mobile Health Team (MHT) from the Catholic Hospital in Pramso. However visits by the MHT are frequent when the roads become motorable.

In terms of basic education, the existing facilities are inadequate, in terms of quantity, and quality. There are nine Primary Schools with a threshold population of 2000, indicating they are meant to provide for a population of 18,000, indicating a backlog of over 5000 people, who need three more Primary Schools. There are three junior secondary schools in the twenty-four communities. With a threshold population of 2500, the three schools are meant to cater for 7500 people, and thus has a backlog of over 15000 people who need at least six more junior secondary schools. There is no second cycle institution in the lake area, hampering the acquisition of higher education and skills, which are prerequisites in development.

Water; though present in a large quantity, though not potable, thus making potable water inadequate in terms of supply in the communities. This forces the people to use water from the lake and its tributaries, increasing the incidence of water and sanitation related diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. This situation creates a negative image of the lake area and may scare off tourists.


3.7 General History and Perceptions

3.7.1 Origin of the Lake

Oral history has it that on one brisk afternoon of Akwasidae, a sacred Sunday, a hunter called Akora Bompe, hailing from Asaman near Kokofu in the present day Amansie-East District in the Ashanti Region went on a hunting expedition and discovered the lake. It is said that he shot an antelope, which did not die. He then chased the antelope until it jumped into a pond, which turned out to be the lake.

He however met another farmer called Ntookooko, who claimed to have discovered the lake and was staying at Kwaakyeman in the south-eastern part of the lake. They lived peacefully together until a misunderstanding ensued between them, which escalated into a large scale war between the Ashantis and the Akims for approximately two weeks. The Ashanti forces comprising of people from Akokofe, Kuntanase, Kokofu, Ahurien, Aboso and Asaman eventually emerged victorious and the chiefs who led the people in the war asked their subjects to settle along the crater to forestall any comeback attempt by the Akims.

3.7.2 Perceptions, Taboos of the Lake

Lake Bosumtwi is said to be associated with an antelope spirit and animals especially cows were slaughtered to please or pacify the gods to have an ample catch every year, and refusal to do so spelt doom for fishermen. The Asamanhene was the sole custodian of the lake and as such supervised the pacification and purification process after consultation with the chief of Abrodwum.

In the olden days, it was an abomination to throw any metallic object into the lake and offenders were severely sanctioned, including being prevented from fishing in the lake for some time and pacification of the gods with Schnapps (an alcoholic drink) and sheep. Metal hooks and wire netting were not used in fishing due to this belief. Women in their menstrual period were forbidden to bathe in the lake, and were said to continue bleeding even after their period should have ended until libation was poured to appease the gods.


The fetish groves or shrines in the area are said to help some of the people by solving their problems, especially with regards to provision of children, after which the children are sent to the groves for purification and sheep presented to the grove or shrine. Some of these fetish groves and shrines are Osere Ka, Gyaabour, Kyerapete, Taakwakuand the Abrodwum stone.

Some superstitious beliefs are hinged on some observations and help preserve culture, thus prevailing ones in the lake basin have to be left intact until the people grow out of them voluntarily, if they realize its uselessness. The ancient belief of the gods abhorring any kind of vessels on the lake apart from the „padua‟ might have saved the lake‟s fish stock from being depleted through the use of boats and fishing trawlers, that have more room for cargo, in this case fish. The depletion of the fish stock may end the useful life of the lake as a source of livelihood and an eco-tourism destination.

3.8 Environmental Degradation An intensified farming activity by the residents in the surrounding communities around the lake has reduced the tree cover around the lake, which exposes the lake to direct sunlight and speeds up evaporation. Research work carried out by geologists fro Copenhagen University in Denmark, headed by Dr. Naana indicates the lake has receded considerably and is believed to have been up to the rest house at Kokwado. A pillar erected by the Gold Coast Survey Department on the outskirts of Old Abrodwum, which was submerged some time ago, can now be seen, confirming the recession of the water in the lake

According to local fishermen, the fish caught in the lake is also reducing considerably and attributed the phenomenon to the silting of the lake. This is probably a result of farming along the slopes of the crater, which loosens the topsoil, which are washed down into the lake during rainfall. The silt is said to cover the reeds and stumps, where the fish lay their eggs, reducing the fish population and destroying the reeds locally known as enere


Livingstone (1976) unearthed the reason for the extermination of thousands of fish, which he attributed to the toxic gases produced from the decomposition of organic matter (usually leaves and twigs) washed into the lake. This phenomenon is still occurring during the months of July and August, thus the fishing season lasts between July and August. This is because, diffusion of oxygen in the lake causes the fish to stay in the shallow parts of the lake, where they are easily caught in large numbers during this period. In the subsequent months, when the distribution of oxygen in the lake becomes even, the fish move to deeper parts of the lake, ushering in the lean season for fishermen.

The natural environment, upon which eco-tourism is being developed, is in danger of being destroyed through the activities of the people. This is manifested in the reduction in tee cover in the lake area and subsequent recession of the water level as proved by the emergence of the Gold Coast Survey Department Pillar, which had earlier been submerged along with Old Abrodwum.

Also indiscriminate defecation along the banks and slopes of the crater, coupled with the increasing sippage of household chemicals, soaps and untreated sewage into the lake can increase the organic load of the lake, a situation which can adversely affect the lake. From earlier scientific research, the lake is said to be eutrophic, haven supported blue- green algae growth between 3000 and 9000 years ago, and the resurgence of these dangerous aquatic weeds such as Eschoraticia crasippes (Water Hyacinth) may hamper the development of eco-tourism in the lake are, as it emits a pungent and poisonous odour and causes intense itching on the body of swimmers.

3.9 Management The Ghana Tourist Board manages activities at the lake, being one of the tourist attractions in the country. The communities are to a limited extent involved in the management of the lake, mostly in the physical preservation of the lake. Through the efforts of Friends of the Earth, all the communities have local units comprising of Sixteen members of each community, that are undertaking periodic tree planting exercises along the banks.


Some of the members of the communities also act as life guards at the lake, to guide mostly tourists who want a dip without the threat of crocodiles and to rescue those in distress. This activity is an unpaid service, and thus voluntary.

In terms of decision making about the lake, the locals are only informed of decisions taken through their assembly persons and unit committees. Out of the eighty-eight people interviewed, only ten reported of haven heard of the plans of the Ghana Tourist Board to turn the lake area into a Natural and Science Museum and an Eco-tourism Park.

The low level of involvement of the local community in the management of the site is resulting in a situation where the people feel isolated from the projects being implemented by the Ghana Tourist Board and the BAKD. Also the people see the utilisation of the lake to generate revenue for the District as depriving them of the chance to benefit from the lake apart from fishing and apparently do not feel the spread effects of developments in the district. This is a result of the general apparent neglect of the lake area in terms of the provision of basic infrastructure.

In managing the tourist site, the Ghana Tourist Board encounters several problems, most of which is beyond their capacity to overcome or address. This includes the apparent inadequacy of transport facilities to constantly monitor the site, coupled with the absence of a local secretariat to bring the institution closer to the attraction, with its office currently located in Kumasi.

The Ghana Tourist Board has very little control over the activities of tourist who visit the lake, especially Ghanaians, and as such finds it difficult to control their activities, some of which are contrary to the lifestyle or culture of the indigenous people. These activities include washing with soap in the lake and indecent public nudity. There have been reports of pilferage and muggings of tourists in the lake area, though they are isolated issues. Also the GTB is finding it difficult to stop the deforestation process around the crater, as the people clear the land for cultivation of food crops.


3.10 Emerging Issues The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) in conjunction with the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics of the University of Frankfurt, Departments of Physics, Geodetic and Geological Engineering Departments of the KNUST, the Survey Department and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is in the process of establishing a Natural and Science Museum and Eco-tourism Park. There are only three such museums in the world; Reis and Steinheim in Germany, and Barringer Crater Museum in Arizona, USA. One of the components off the project is the establishment of a lake resort and village tourism facilities to promote nature-based recreational and cultural tourism at Abono.

As part the project, a secretariat is to be set up to administer the Natural and Science Museum and Eco-tourism Park. The secretariat is to be responsible for the preparation and dissemination of detailed scientific information profile to attract the attention of the world scientific community and international donor agencies for further research as a development guide. It is also charged with the responsibility of conducting land surveys to provide data for reference maps, and the establishment of an institutional structure to coordinate and manage scientific research as well as socio-economic and physical development process of Lake Bosumtwi and its immediate environs.

The Ghana Tourist Board, playing a leading role in the conservation of the eco-system, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, has placed an embargo on any mining activity within a thirty kilometre radius of the lake and in March 2000 rejected proposals of a Canadian mining company to start mining activities in the area. To complement, the traditional authorities in the area have decided to leave a two-kilometre radius around the lake as an exclusive tourism zone





Faced with the threat of dwindling natural resource base, developing countries are turning

to the development of eco-tourism as a tool to develop their local economies as well as to protect their reduced natural environment. Hence, it is imperative upon these developing countries to ascertain the extent to which these niches-eco-tourism- can be exploited without further destroying the fragile eco-system

To assess the sustainability of these niches, one has to assess the effect of developing them on the environment, economic and social life of the host communities and the country as a whole. This was done through a socio-economic survey of households in the lake area, interview of key opinion leaders and stakeholder institutions and a desk study of available literature on the environment and emerging issues concerning the lake

After analysis of data collected, it was realised that the sustainability of developing Lake Bosumtwi into an eco-tourism destination is hinged on active participation of all stakeholders including host communities and improved social and economic infrastructure.


What is done to the environment in the lake basin depends in general on the functioning of the society itself and its perceptions and evaluation of its environment, thus it is only

when host communities realise the benefits of eco-tourism first to themselves, then to the environment that they willingly participate in the development and sustenance of the site.




5.1 FINDINGS This part of the report is concerned with findings and recommendations and conclusion drawn from the study. The major findings drawn from the study are categorised into social, economic, environmental and Managerial and are presented below:




Quality and standard of living fluctuates with the farming and fishing seasons.


The older generation still uphold traditional values, as against the youth who have bee tremendously affected their culture.


The people are becoming unfriendly to tourists as a result of the activities of some of the earlier tourists.


The area is neglected in the provision of basic facilities in the district




The occupations are seasonal in nature, being farming and fishing.


Incomes in the Lake Bosumtwi Basin fluctuates with the seasons


All employed people in the area have secondary occupations.


The people are not benefiting directly from the attraction.




The environmental practices of majority of the people do not enhance the conservation of the lake.


The water level in the lake is receding.


Fish stock in the lake is being depleted due to over-fishing




The people are only being passively involved in the management of the tourist site.


The site is being remotely managed by the Ghana Tourist Board


5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS To help rectify the problems that have to be seen to be impediments to the growth of sustainable eco-tourism, long and short term recommendations were made, which are outlined below:

5.2.1 Short-term recommendations

I. A secondary/ vocational /technical school should be established in the area to help dissipate technology and employable skills in the area.

II. Two KVIPs should be built in each community to improve sanitation

III. Potable water should be made available to the people, by the drilling of at least ten more boreholes.

IV. Tourists to the lake should be provided with information on the lake and the culture of its people.

5.2.2 Long-term recommendations

I. Promulgation of a bye-law specifying the type and standard of fishing nets to be used in the lake

II. Improve the surface of the roads connecting the communities of the lake area.

III. Establishment of a local office for the Ghana Tourism Board to serve as Information Centre.

IV. Protection of some mammal and bird species in the immediate environs of the lake after some research is carried out to ascertain the status of these animals.

V. Intensify reforestation of the slopes of the crater.

VI. The community should be actively involved in decision making concerning the lake basin and its development into a Natural and Science Museum and Eco- Tourism Park



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National Redemption Council



Bosumtwi-Atwima-Kwanwoma District



Convention People‟s Party



Ghana Tourist Board



World Conservation Union



Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology



Kumasi Ventilated and Improved Pit



Non-Governmental Organisation



Pan-African Fair for Arts and Music



Pan-African Arts Festival



Provisional National Defence Council Law



Progress Party



United Nations



United Nations Environment Programme



United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation



United states of America



World Tourism Organisation



Worldwide Fund for Nature