The Year of Return – Ghana 2019 edition of the annual paragliding festival was yesterday launched at Kwahu-Mpraeso.
Dubbed, ‘Heritage Paragliding Festival,’ the event is scheduled to from April 19 to 21 on top the Odwenanoma Mountain at Kwahu-Atibie in the Eastern Region. Begun in 2005, the paragliding festival is held yearly at the Kwahu area which is the biggest centre of attraction for revellers during the Easter festivities.
Since its inception, the scope of the festival broadens as new additions are introduced by organisers each year with 2018 recording the biggest turnout of fliers ever. But Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman says participants should look forward to an even bigger and more exciting event this year.
A food court, children play area, live band music, games are a few of the new additions that revelers can enjoy aside the main flying event. “Additionally, this year the site has been opened up with an open take-off point, and the road network is also been worked on in collaboration with the District Assemblies to attract more participants. The authority is also working with the Tourism Society of Ghana to get more students to participate,” said Agyemang, who stated that the activities give meaning to the "Fun and Fly" tagline of the festival.
He added that this year’s paragliding would see 12 pilots from Romania, Japan, South Africa and the United States of America, and that the number could increase depending on how many people sign up to fly.
Mr. Agyeman wants people to not just come to fly, “but to have a panoramic view of Kwahu, Nkawkaw and be able to enjoy themselves.” He is of the belief that the road network which has seen some significant upgrade would be further improved to ginger revellers to climb the mountain to have a good time during the festival.
The traditional authorities who received the GTA, security agencies, other government officials and the media at Mpraeso Chief’s Palace where the launch was held, expressed hope that this year’s would be well organised with tight security to ensure the safety of all participants.
Nana Ampadu Dadwiam II, Mpraesohene and Acting Benkumhene of the Kwahu Traditional Area, assured organisers of their continued support and thanked officials for bringing paragliding to the area which has put them on the tourism map and improving their economy; a fact which was alluded to by Akwasi Agyeman.
The annual event witness accommodation operating at full capacity with 100% occupancy rates. This has given rise to more hotels and guest houses been established each year. The GTA Boss, disclosed for example that, the Kwahu area will soon see the opening of the biggest hotel in the country. The hotel he said, would have in excess of 600 rooms.
The rate for flying has been revised upward to GHC350 per person and GHC600 for couples. The GTA is encouraging prospective fliers to log on visitghana.com or go to their offices nationwide to register.
Officials of the GTA did a brief inspection of the take-off site after the launch.
Story by: Samuel Obeng Appah