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David Ahadzie: A True Passion for Preservation

Tourism Success Stories

My name is David Ahadzie and this is my story….

I was born at Feyito a village that is about 14 km from Ada Foah in Ghana. I have ten siblings, two kids and a wife.

When I was young my dream was to become a pilot because I love traveling. But as I grew up, that dream faded and I instead wanted to be an entrepreneur. The entrepreneurial spirit grew stronger and became inevitable after schooling. I searched for jobs in Accra and other cities in Ghana for over seven years, but could not get anything permanent.

In June 2010, I relocated from Accra to Ada Foah where there are many tourism offerings. It is one of the holiday destinations in Ghana where I could work as a tour guide in order to enhance visitors´ experience and earn some income.

Using my entrepreneurial spirit, I designed ecotourism packages, produced a local tourist guidebook, and started guiding visitors. I began to earn income in a less stressful manner. I also networked with the tour operators union of Ghana to sell more tour packages. More local guides were needed especially during the holidays, so I began to form a team of tour guides under the name Island Tour Services. We were initially six in number. Now we have a total of 28 tour guides.

They are trained by the Collaborative Actions for Sustainable Tourism (COAST) Project and Tour Guides Association of Ghana.

We guide visitors to about 16 communities around Ada and even beyond where natural attractions are and tourists buy local products like mats, local drinks, fruits and other souvenirs from the rural folks.

After adding value to myself through workshops, learning more about what tourists wanted and how my work could make their holiday in Ghana even more interesting, I begin to attract extra income from visitors. I remember I used to get GH¢20 from one trip but after eight months I was getting not less than GH¢70 per an hour and half trip in my first year of tour guiding.

As we grew, we formed an association called Ada Tourism Stakeholders Association made up of local boat operators, hotel/guest house operators, local gin and vegetable growers, culture dance group and tour guides. The activities of the association, such as organizing clean up exercises or regulating prices from a common office, enable us to address concerns and interests of various groups for mutual benefits.

I have acquired a new sense of direction, a change in attitude from littering to treating my surroundings with care as I know that our visitors are coming to us mainly because of the unique natural and cultural attractions, and are concerned about the safety of the environment in general.

I fully participate in awareness creation and conservation activities to protect our culture and natural heritage. Already, some women, children, visitors, staff from wildlife division and myself have planted 600 coconut trees over one season at thebeaches of Lolonyakorpe and Azizanya villages to serve as source of income, windbreaks and to check erosion, thereby giving back life to mother earth.

I love tourism. Tourism gives me real opportunity to prove my creativity and innovativeness. Besides, it opens wider doors to the world for me as a tour operator and a tour guide through continuous meeting and interaction with different people from different places, with different cultures and academic disciplines – making me more sociable and flexible than I used to be.

My community largely benefits also as tourism has created hotel chains where many youth work for secured income. Thanks to volunteer tourism we are able to grow even stronger. Some volunteers even financially support school building and toilet facility projects, and teach practical ICT in the schools, to bridge technological gaps in addition to exchanging good cultural practices in Ada.

My dream of having my own business is becoming a reality. Now I can hear people say “Thank you, David”. Some years back it was almost the reverse, as I had not much to offer.

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