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Tourism

Decades ago, the significance of the tourism industry in Ghana's development discourse was downplayed. However, the industry currently plays a pivotal role in the economic and socio-cultural development of the nation (Ministry of Tourism, 2012). Ghana's cultural tourism worth is embodied in her excellent natural, cultural and heritage resources such as historical forts and castles, national parks, a beautiful coastline, unique arts and craft, cultural traditions such as chieftaincy and cultural displays as well as a vibrant lifestyle. It is posited that if these potentials are further developed and properly packaged and marketed, Ghana will benefit immensely through the revenue and employment the sector generates (ibid). According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA, 2005), Africa is suffering from record levels of unemployment that are undermining economic growth and worsening poverty across the continent (UNECA, 2005). Unemployment is a pressing social and economic issue in Ghana. In Ghana, unemployment is highest among the youth who constitute about 33% of population. Available data indicates that people between the ages of 15 and 24 has an unemployment rate of 25.6%, twice that of those between 25-44 years and three times that of the 45-64 age group. Moreover, the government is faced with the challenge of creating decent job opportunities for the youth or to engage them in some form of skills training to improve their chances of employment (Africa Economic Outlook, 2012). It is therefore pertinent that all possible avenues are thoroughly explored in order to minimise unemployment. The Government of Ghana has therefore opted to intensify its efforts to developing tourism as a sustainable engine of growth, as well as a poverty reduction mechanism. These efforts have often been in the form of tourism promotion activities and strategies aimed at exposing the rich culture of Ghana to the rest of the world. It is thus not surprising that tourism contributed about 7% to Ghana's GDP in 2011 and has created over 300,000 direct and indirect jobs all over the country (Mensah, 2011; VibeGhana, 2012). It is anticipated that, when fully developed and well managed, the tourism industry in Ghana will not only generate revenue and create employment but also preserve the environment and cultural values, curb rural-urban drift, promote investments and build cross-cultural relations (Ministry of Tourism, 2012).

This paper investigates the relationship between cultural tourism and employment creation. It demonstrates the need to pay more attention to the potential of cultural tourism especially in developing and least developing economies due to its economic gains. The paper uses a case from the wood carving at Ahwiaa and kente1 weaving at Adanwomase in Kwabre East District in Ghana to showcase the employment creation potential of cultural assets when attention is given to the sector. The paper also discusses the challenges and the way forward for cultural tourism. The study District is one of the famous cultural tourism destinations in the country and in the Ashanti region. Currently, the main tourist attractions in the district are culturally related activities including making and sale of traditional textiles, such as Kente and Adinkra, famous traditional shrines such as Antoa as well as woodcrafts (Kwabre East District, 2010).


PURCHASE KENTE STRIPS, CLOTHS, AND PRODUCTS




Adanwomase is a town in the Ashanti Region of Ghana located in Kwabre East District.It is about 17 miles northeast of Kumasi. The town is known for the Adanwomase Secondary School. The school is a second cycle institution.[ It is also well known for the traditional Kente_cloth weaving.Although there are a variety of oral histories concerning the origins of Kente Cloth, historians and scholars agree that Kente Cloth production is an extension of centuries of strip-weaving in West Africa. Strip-weaving has existed in West Africa since the 11th century. Most scholars believe that the art form was developed in present-day Mali and spread throughout West Africa through trade and migration.

In 1697, the Ashanti King, desiring hand-woven cloth, commissioned one of his sub-chiefs, the Akyimpimhene, to send people from the towns of Adanwomase, Asotwe, Bonwire, and Wonoo to study strip-weaving in Bontuku, a small village in present-day Ivory Coast. When they returned, the apprentices were given swatches of fabric with specific patterns on them that they were told to study and be able to recreate on demand. These patterns were called Sesea and are considered to be the first examples of true Ashanti Kente Cloth. The original centuries-old Sesea swatches are to this day kept in the Kente Chief’s house in Adanwomase.

Since the first apprentices returned from Bontuku, Adanwomase has been the royal weaving village for the Ashanti King. The apprentices spread the art of Kente-weaving to their friends and families and in the process added their own designs and colors, creating the cloth that today is recognized worldwide as Ashanti Kente.
To this day, Adanwomase carries on the centuries-old Kente-weaving tradition. Under the guidance of the Kente Chief, Adanwomase weavers continue to weave cloths for the Ashanti King, royals, and anyone in the world who appreciates the history and cultural significance woven into Ashanti Kente.The town had its name form the Adanwo tree. The name Adanwomase means under the Adanwo tree in Asante Twi dialect.
Products in the Visitor's Centre and Stores throughout town are sold in a fair and hassle free manner. Souvenirs such as greeting cases, wallets and sandals are sold alongside Kente strips, two - yards, and traditional ten_yard cloths.







                   KENTE TOUR, Adanwomase


Learn the history and meanings of Ashanti Kentecloth. Track the creation of Kente cloth step by step from thread to finished product. Visit a thread store, a thread spinning and warping area, weaver groups at work. See the
strip sewing process, then visit the stores and try on traditional full cloths.



  • TOWN TOUR

Learn the history and culture of the Adanwomase community. Visit the Chief's palace, the traditional healers shrine, the old Chief's palace, the Danwoma tree for which the town is named, Adanwomase's first house, a cocoa farm, and Bomohwe forest shrine





FOOD AND DRINKS


Homestay meals can be made by our trained caterers to satisfy a variety of tastes. Adanwomase also has several chop bars for local food and cold beverages. Snacks are readily available in the town.




  • Accommodation, Adanwomase


Visitors are welcome to stay in homes of selected Adanwomase community members. There is one guest house in Adanwomase and one in the nearby town, Asonomase. Many hotels and questhouses are available in Kumasi.




Adanwomase Guest House



"I made a trip to the Kente weaving village of Adanwomase. It was a great experience in a small village. Like everywhere else in Ghana, I felt like I was part of the family.


One of the most beautiful items to come from Ghana is kente cloth. Kente is an Ashanti ceremonial cloth that is hand-woven on a loom. Only men do the weaving, and the entire village echos with the clack-clack of the looms.


Four inch strips are sewn together into larger pieces of cloth. Kente cloth comes in various colors, sizes and designs and is worn during very important social and religious occasions. A large cloth like this typically takes around 6 months to make. 
My second night in the village, I was invited to spend the night at the village chief's house. It was a palace compared to the rest of the town – or even compared to my home here in Oakland! He 
cracked open a new bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label and we chatted long into the night, eventually watching Rush Hour II on his home entertainment center. This was quite an honor to receive this invitation.


In the morning I had two breakfasts – one prepared by the chief’s staff, and another that has been brought over by my hosts from the night before. After breakfasts, as the chief is walking me around the village, a car pulls up and people yell out he is late for a meeting. I am hauled into the car with him, driven to the meeting house, and given a seat right beside him in front of around 150 people. I am introduced and then they proceed to have the meeting in Twi, so I do not know what was being said. They could have been talking about me!

The little Twi that I did learn before the trip was well received and really made a difference when I attempted it. Almost everyone in Ghana speaks Twi and English and a few other native languages. Jessie and Justice attempted to teach me more Twi, but I was a poor student. Regardless, just a simple 'me da se' (thank you) always seemed to make a big impact.


There was another white guy in the village. Anthony is a Peace Corp volunteer from Chicago. He has been in Adanwomase for the past 18 months and is helping to make the village a tourist destination. He is a very respected and much loved person in Adanwomase. We played frisbee with some of the village children one afternoon.


Among his many other projects, he helped create the Adanwomase Tourism Management Team. Their correspondence via email convinced me to visit Adanwomase. Anthony is also working on a new library and housing for teachers who currently must travel very far to arrive at the school"