Community-based Tourism and Rural Development: The Case of the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary in the Wa West District of Ghana

  • C Gyimah
  • M Okrah
Keywords: Community-based Tourism, Nature Conservation, Eco-system maintenance, Participatory Planning, Rural Development.


The paper reports an investigation on how community-based tourism can be used as a development strategy for the efficient and sustainable use of tourist resources in seventeen (17) communities within the Hippopotamus (hippo) Sanctuary of the Wa West District of the Upper West Region of Ghana. Specifically, it explores three interrelated questions with regard to the promotion of rural development in the Wechiau Traditional Area where the Sanctuary is located. These are: (i) whether the development of the Wa West District, particularly the catchment communities, are being impacted by community-based tourism and how; (ii) whether there is a high level of beneficiary participation in the management of the Hippo Sanctuary and; (iii) whether there have been any challenges at all and what strategies can be adopted for the sustenance of the Sanctuary. The investigation was done using probability and non-probability techniques to select participants for a survey and data collected from both primary and secondary sources. Based on the findings, the study concludes that, though community-based tourism is gaining prominence, the tourism development and promotion area is beset with ownership and participation challenges. Therefore, recommendations have been made for exploring more dialogue between and among the stakeholders of the Sanctuary in order to deepen community participation for the sustainable management of the Sanctuary.

KEY DESCRIPTORS: Community-based Tourism, Nature Conservation, Eco-system maintenance, Participatory Planning; Rural Development.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0855-6768