Climate Change and Tourism: an Assessment of Kassena Nankana West as a Tourism Destination
by Moro Ali
This chapter deals with a summary of the major findings, conclusion and recommendations on the assessment of climate change and tourism in the Kassena Nankana West District.
The chapter is thus divided into three broad thematic areas as stated above.
Summary of Major Findings
The major findings of the study are organized under the six specific objectives. These include:
- Awareness and Evidence of Climate Change and Variability in the Kassena Nankana West District
- Causes of Climate Change
- Tourism in Kassena Nankana West
- Climate Change and Tourism Resource
- Climate and Tourist Demand/Arrivals
- Policies in Place to Curb the Problem of Climate Change
Awareness and Evidence of Climate Change and Variability in the Kassena Nankana West District
The study revealed that the people of this district are well aware of the incidence of climate change and variability. This is because 105 of the total sampled respondents representing 95.5% were aware of the prevalence of climate change and variability.
The study also revealed that farmers in the district are easily affected by climate change and variability and this account for the high level climate change awareness in the district since most of residence are involved in farming directly or indirectly.
The study also showed that it rains less in recent times than it did in the past while present day temperatures are also higher in this district than the past.
Causes of Climate Change
Despite the significant investments in LPG and climate efficient sources of energy by the government of Ghana, this study revealed that majority of the respondents from the Kassena Nankana west district use wood fuel and charcoal as their major source of energy which is a major cause of global warming and climate change.
The study also revealed reasons why the residents of this district use fuel wood and charcoal but not the other climate friendly sources of energy and these included:
- Fuel wood and charcoal is very cheap as compared to electricity and gas
- It is easy to transport, distribute and store
- It is less risky
- It is reliable
- It is easily accessible
The study also revealed that households with people between four (4) and five (9) members mostly use fuel wood and charcoal as their major source of energy and this account for 71.8% of all the energy consumed in the district.
According to the study, bushfires, bad farming practices, urbanization and deforestation are the major human causes of climate change while natural disasters are the major non-human causes of climate change.
Tourism in Kassena Nankana West
Although tourism in this district is not a new phenomenon, the study revealed that most of the respondents easily identified the crocodile pond and the slave camp as tourist attractions (90.9% and 76% respectively) while failing to recognize the Ghana-Burkina Faso border (no man’s land) and Sirigu pottery as tourism attractions with a percentage of 36.4% and 28.2% respectively.
The study also showed that only 62.7% of the respondents participate in tourism related activities.
Climate Change and Tourism Resource
Climate change and variability does not only affect tourist arrivals and change in taste and preference but also has a great impact on tourism resources.
Though impacts of climate change on tourism resources can either be positive or negative all the respondents however gave only negative impacts.
On how climate change affect the tourism resources in the district, the study showed that it is causing the crocodile pond which is the major attraction in the district to dry up.
Other impacts include erosion and weathering of the rocks at the slave camp, death and migration of the living and aquatic animals.
From the study it was revealed that the pond is also decreasing in both depth and size due to the reduction in the amount of annual rainfall in the district and the increase of temperature leading to evaporation
Climate and Tourist Demand/Arrivals
The study revealed that majority of the tourist (51.8%) visits this district between September and December because it hardly rain during this month and also the temperature is always low.
The study also showed that rainfall and temperature plays a vital role in the decision making process of tourist with respect to this district.
The study however revealed that there is no direct significant relationship between annual rainfall and mean maximum temperature at one side and annual tourist arrivals at the other.
Policies in Place to Curb the Problem of Climate Change
According to the district director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), several measures have been adapted to curb this problem of climate change in the district.
Some of the measures are: Free distribution and planting of trees, educating the farmers on the effects of bushfires and bad farming practices, the introduction of environmental clubs in the basic school and installation of task forces at the various forests that are doted in the district.
Also, the traditional authorities have put in place a bye-law that prohibit people from felling trees within the main city center and also some reserves.
However, the study revealed that a majority of 67.3% of the respondents had no idea of any measure that has been put in place to solve this menace of climate change and variability in the district.
The Kassena Nankana West District is undoubtedly the tourism ‘back born’ of the Upper East Region with the Paga crocodile pond being the major attraction.
However this district is being confronted with the challenge of climate change and variability.
Interesting enough, most of the residents in this district are aware of this phenomenon since they deal with it directly and indirectly daily.
Some of the evidence of climate change in this district according to the respondents include reduction in rainfall amount, increase temperature and the unpredictability nature of weather.
There are several causes to this climate change and variability in the district such as bad farming practices, bushfires, and urbanization.
The study however revealed that most of the people in this community use fuel wood and charcoal as their major source of energy and the “black carbon” from burning charcoal and wood is the second most important man-made agent of climate change.
This assessment shows that climate change is projected to have significant impacts on the physical resources supporting tourism resources in this district.
According to the respondents of the study, the gradual drying up of the crocodile pond, erosion of the suitable clay at Sirigu, weathering of the rocks at the slave camp and the death and migration of the aquatic animals are some of the impacts that the changing climate has on the tourism resources in the district.
Furthermore, Climate change has direct influence on tourism via the decision-making process though it has been revealed that there is no any direct significant relationship between annual rainfall and mean maximum temperature at one side and annual tourist arrivals at the other.
On the issue of policies that have been put in place to curb the problem of climate change, the study revealed contrast views between the authorities and the respondents.
As the authorities were with the view that policies were in place to solve the negative effects of climate change and variability, majority of the respondents had no idea of any policy that has been put in place.
A comparative analysis of both primary and secondary data in cognizance with the literature on Climate change and tourism in the Kassena Nankana West District, the study recommends the following:
- It is strongly recommended that afforestation and reforestation programs be established in all communities.
To promote these programs, the district assembly should provide dug-out ponds and wells and other sources of water to enhance tree planting even in the dry season and times of drought.
The development of shrubs into trees adopted at the Paga crocodile pond should be highly promoted and spread to the slave camp and the Sirigu community.
There should be motivation for those engaged in tree planting since it will facilitate the success of afforestation and reforestation programs in the district.
- The study further recommends that periodic educational programs should be designed to enlighten the people on the negative effects of charcoal and wood fuel burning.
It should also aim at introducing farmers to good farming practices and the avoidance of bush burning. This should be done by the opinion leaders in the district.
- It is also strongly recommended that the local authorities (chief and elders), the district assembly and the District Tourism Authority should ensure that the crocodile pond is desilted very soon since it risk drying up.
- The study recommends that the Ghana Tourism Authority, the local authorities and private investors should aim towards designing and developing an indoor pond with other indoor tourism activities so as to make the district an all-year-round tourism destination.
The study also proposes events tourism should be introduced in the district to augment the tourism experience since climate change and variability has minimal impact on events.