Year Of Return: Ghana’s Ambitious Strategy To Become A Major Tourist Destination

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
year of return
The Gold Coast in Ghana was an important part of the Atlantic slave trade from West Africa. In what is being called the “Year of Return”, descendants of former African slaves are visiting Ghana to mark the 400th anniversary of the first Africans arriving in Virginia.

Ghana is tapping into the African-American market in a plan to grow its annual tourism numbers from 1 million to 8 million visitors per year by 2027, the West African country said in a strategy document.

Ghana has a rich history linked to slavery, with Slave River on the Gold Coast serving as the last point where slaves touched African soil before submitting to a final bath and being shipped across the Atlantic.

Year of Return

The site has become popular with descendants of former African slaves in the Americas. It is a place of somber homecoming for the descendants of those who spent their lives as someone else’s property.

People from the U.S., the Caribbean, and Europe flocked to Ghana this month to mark the 400th anniversary of the first Africans arriving in Virginia, Reuters reported. For this reason, 2019 has been called the “Year of Return”.

Celebrities that made the journey to Ghana included actor Idris Elba, supermodel Naomi Campbell, TV sports presenter Mike Hill and author Luvvie Ajayi.

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They attended an event chaired by Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo that aimed at reaching out to people of African descent living outside of Africa.

The event dubbed “Year of Return” pointed to Ghana’s tragic legacy as a reason for diaspora descendants to return and learn about this dark chapter of history, according to CNN.

“Every person of color needs to get on this pilgrimage,” actor Boris Kodjoe, who is of Ghanaian descent, told CNN. “They need to experience this journey and get in touch with their emotional heritage, walk through the dungeons and see the ‘door of no return’.”