ToDo! award

The following text is an excerpt from the press release about the contest “Socially Responsible Tourism TO DO!2000” of the “Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V. (Institute for Tourism and Development)”, Kapellenweg 3, D-82541 Ammerland/Starnberger See, Germany.

You will find an unabridged version of the rationale for the award under http://www.todo-contest.org/preistraeger-en/kasapa01.html

 

Press Release, Ammerland, March 4th, 2001, No. 3b/2001

Contest Socially Responsible Tourism Award Winner at the TO DO!2000: two projects in West Africa

Today the Institute for Tourism and Development, Ammerland, announced the award winners of the international contest for socially responsible tourism. On the occasion of the 35th International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin, the TO DO! 2000 was awarded to two contestants from West Africa. The award winners are from The Gambia and Ghana. A third potential award project in Asia did not bear-up under closer scrutiny. The Chairman of the Institute, Armin Vielhaber, said that “what was to be expected sooner or later had now happened for the first time”, namely that an application which sounded quite promising had to be ruled out after a closer look. After all, a TO DO! award was not “judged merely academically on the ground of the documents” said Vielhaber, “but only after a project research has taken place.”

From a total of 15 contestants from 14 countries and five continents the TUMANI TENDA ECO-TOURISM CAMP of the village community of Tumani Tenda, The Gambia, and the tourism project KASAPA CENTER LTD. from Nyanyano, near Accra in Ghana were chosen.

The Managing Director of the Institute, Dietlind von Laßberg, said that both projects “had to a large extent developed in a holistic and socially responsible direction by their own efforts and without any substantial consultation from outside.” It was particularly good to note that “with the award going to West Africa a region was honoured”, said von Laßberg, “which deserves more attention.”

“The TO DO! contest stands for a way to encourage people”, said the TV moderator of the Rundschau Magazin Ursula Heller in her laudatio. “Hopefully, the awarded projects will imprint an own style in Western Africa: not being western is essential but a tourism who preserves the own tradition, strengthens the self-confidence and does not adapt to a globalised pattern.

[…]

KASAPA CENTRE, too, is taking pains to demonstrate an authentic image of Africa; it is run by a German-Ghanaian couple, Stemann-Acheampong, and is situated roughly 40 km west of the Ghanaian capital of Accra. KASAPA means “conversation” or “good discussions” which indicates what this project is about: Intercultural encounters, getting to know each other more intensively and deeply. This way, Europeans are able to ponder their thought patterns which have been shaped (latently colonially) over the centuries; and the local people’s self-confidence and identity is enhanced because their guests demonstrate respect and esteem for their culture.

Casually speaking, KASAPA CENTRE evolved from the tourist “drummer scene” but it did not stop there – it developed in a way which today is a paragon and model from various points of view.

First, KASAPA CENTRE which has been in existence since 1996, continues to offer drumming and dancing workshops which are an essential non-verbal “tool” to approach this continent, to get familiar with it and to feel confident.

Second, KASAPA CENTRE offers holiday programmes or excursions of several days through which tourists gain new insights in and experience old traditions; they also make everyday life in Ghana more transparent. This became possible through the contacts which KASAPA CENTRE has kept up for several years with villages in the interior of the country. Gradually KASAPA CENTRE also developed into some kind of “consultant” for these villages whose advice on matters concerning tourism is sought out by the respective chiefs and their village communities. What is quite important in this context is the ability of Kofi Acheampong to combine his Western experiences (training as a civil engineer, and stays abroad) with his African roots; to know and respect the rites and traditions, to speak the languages of the village population and to encourage the local people to follow their way, that is, to indirectly promote “appropriate tourism” – the kind of tourism which fits the given situation. Third, KASAPA CENTRE is a model because it demonstrates how to reach a standard with modern (Western) environment technology, local material and traditional building style that meets the needs of Western guests and which simultaneously offers feasible, affordable and functioning solutions for developing countries, especially in the tropics.

From the outside the KASAPA CENTRE looks like a small holiday village. It is situated at the periphery of the small fishing town of Nyanyano, about 40 km west of Accra, directly on the coast. KASAPA CENTRE is by no means an “ex-territorial” ghetto but rather is perfectly integrated into the community life of Nyanyano so that it needs not be fenced in but is open to everybody. Most of the staff are from Nyanyano and a substantial amount of money (via the community treasury) goes there, for uses such as the yearly lease payment for the plot. KASAPA CENTRE is also undertaking infrastructure measures and pays for the garbage collector.

Six thatched mud round houses are situated on the 2.5 hectare KASAPA property for a maximum of 24 guests, with each round house being divided in two double rooms with a common terrace. A real jewel in terms of architectural design is the big, half-open restaurant pavilion. This, too, is a thatched round building whose sensational roof construction made of timber – with a diameter of 22 metres (!) – is essentially supported by one single central pillar (apart from supporting pillars at the outside). The idea to build it in keeping with the function of an umbrella came from quite an “average” carpenter from the village of Liate Wote. This is one of the villages visited in the framework of the excursion programmes offered to KASAPA guests.

Such excursions are for example four to five day trips into the interior of the country, as well as excursions to the nearer vicinity – e.g. to Accra (market, handicrafts, popular cinemas, music events). The excursions centre around the old royal town of Kumasi (culture of the Ashanti) and the region around the Volta village Liate Wote (near the border to Togo) and around trips along the West coast to the pile dwelling village of Nzulezo which until today can only be reached by dug-outs in well over an hour, travelling through species-rich wetland forests (birds and flowers). The KASAPA CENTRE implements a tourism concept Ghana can be proud of. It demonstrates how the African and European mentalities can blend into an exemplary symbiosis. Nothing must be “developed” here, all that is necessary is to promote this concept. For the KASAPA CENTRE is a bridge across rifts which were torn up a long time ago.

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Responsible for this press release: Klaus Betz

Tel. ++49-7194-382, fax: ++49-7194-8836, E-Mail: klarobetz@compuserve.com

The contest criteria of the TO DO! for a socially responsible tourism centre around the concern for the different interests of the local people in the planning and implementation of tourism projects. This should happen through active participation of the local people. The risks and chances of such endeavours must be transparent to all parties involved and so must be the extent and spread of the economic benefit. Further criteria for the contest are: the guarantee of the attractiveness of jobs in tourism as well as measures to enhance and strengthen the local culture.

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