• Short Summary

    On Sunday (June 27) Ivory Coast Minister of State for Tourism, Mr Mathieu Ekra opened a new Arts and Tourist centre.

  • Description

    On Sunday (June 27) Ivory Coast Minister of State for Tourism, Mr Mathieu Ekra opened a new Arts and Tourist centre. Built not in the form of a hotel block but as a traditional native village, the centre, at Gouessesso 400 miles (650 kilometres) North West of Abidjan, has been built in memory of the late President Nicolas Grunitzky of Togo who was overthrown by a military coup in 1967. He went into exile in the Ivory Coast, and set up a building firm which was given the contract for the new centre. He died in a road accident in 1969.

    The centre - the latest venture into the holidays industry by the tourist-conscious Ivory Coast government - is made up of 45 native huts adjoining the original village dwellings. But the huts, although roofed with authentic thatch, are made of brick, and the traditional circular construction disguises rooms that contain all the comforts of big city hotels.

    The cost of the centre was about 230,000 pounds sterling.

    SYNOPSIS: A new Ivory Coast arts and tourists centre designed to combine native authenticity with big-city comfort has been built at Gouessesso, 400 miles from Abidjan and just thirty miles from the Guinea border. Tourist accommodation is provided not in a hotel block but in specially built huts whose native appearance conceals electricity, hot and cold running water and fitted cupboards.

    The centre is built around the original village of Gouessesso, which has been left intact to provide tourists with an insight into African native life. Costing around 230,000 pounds sterling, the centre was opened on Sunday by the Ivory Coast Minister for Tourism, Mr Mathieu Ekra. The Arts Centre contained within the tourist complex has been named after ex President Nicolas Grunitzky of Togo. Exiled in the Ivory Coast after his overthrow in 1967, he started the building concern which was given the contract for this venture. He died in a road accident near hear in 1969. His daughter Nicole accompanied the Minister at the opening ceremony, and was shown over the project that her late father's business had built.

    Attractions to this tourist spot out in the wilds include the Yakuba tribal dancers. Authentic local custom is kept to a maximum, and the Yakubas are famous for their dancing. The name of this centre is the Hotel Des Lianes, after the traditional river bridges made of vines that are a feature of the construction. The village of Gouessesso itself comes under the prefecture of Man, which is being developed as a resort area by an increasingly tourist-conscious government. The centre here is overlooked by the 4,000 feet high Mount Tonkoui.

    Among the guests present on Sunday were Ivory Coast Information Minister Edmond Bouazo and Parliamentary Relations Minister Loua Diamonde. A former Tourist Minister Mr Diamonde was responsible for the decision to build this tourist centre. The government plan to build other tourist villages in the future. All of them will be as far away from the capital as possible in order to give visitors a real taste of traditional atmosphere.

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