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The economic contribution of tourism sites across the country cannot be overemphasized. Host communities undoubtedly generate economic dividends by way of direct and indirect job creation as well as revenue generation for the local assemblies and the central government.
Nana Yaa Asantewaa Museum in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality in the Ashanti Region has been one such example until now.
Inaugurated 16 years ago (2000), it was highly patronized by both foreigners and indigenes – generating revenue for the municipal assembly whilst creating jobs for residents.
Patronage has however dwindled over the years after a fire gutted the facility in 2004 – unduly affecting its revenue generation for the assembly.
Tourist paid GH¢6 to enjoy a trip around the facility. A GH¢5 went to the maintenance of the place whiles the rest is used as motivation for the tourist guide.
Five persons were employed at the facility which hosted between 200 and 300 tourists every month.
Museum Coordinator, Frank Badu Sampene says the place was one of the busiest areas aside the main Ejisu market.
“It was a lively place. When we started we had people moving in and some few people also trying to put their containers to sell some items here,” Mr Sampene said.
“We had many people visiting here especially foreigners. The number was going to move on and increase and unfortunately, the place got burnt and we had this u-turn,” he added.
Several businesses sprung up around the museum area for obvious reasons.
This included Kente-weaving, bead-making and the sale of traditional sculptures which have all automatically ceased.
The only surviving business is the hospitality facility of Gina Pee Guest House, cited some 200 meters away from the museum.
Manager, Georgina Osei Prempeh explains her business has been affected because patronage of her facility has drastically reduced.
“When the museum was vibrant, people used to pass the night here a lot of times but things have changed now”.
Attempts to renovate the facility by the Ejisu Municipal Assembly have yielded little results.
Municipal Cultural Officer, Ato James Anison, says the development is affecting the activities of the assembly.
“The assembly was getting a lot of revenue from the museum; the current state is not good for the internally generated funds of the assembly,” Mr Anison said.
According to authorities, the Ejisu community is losing close to a potential $4 million every year in the image of Nana Yaa Asantewaa, the brave female warrior of the great Asante Kingdom.
Ejisu Nkosuohene, Nana Kofi Poku I together with the support of the Ejisu Traditional Council is, therefore, searching for investors to refurbish the facility.
Until then, the economic benefits of such rich cultural heritage may only be a wish rather than a reality for the Ejisu municipality and the economy at large.