Ghana has said it has so far made a whopping $1.9 billion through activities related to the “Year of Return”.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, said the “Year of Return” programme had also brought about an increase of over 200,000 in total arrivals into the West African country.
She made this statement while speaking at a ceremony at Anomabo to inaugurate a tourist centre and hand over facilities at the Heroes Garden which has been transformed into a Memorial Garden of Return to boost tourism in the town.
Prior to the renovation exercise, the Heroes Garden had portrait statues of Kwegyir Aggrey, Ekem Ferguson and Nana Amonoo I of Anomabo and now has in addition symbolic statues of people of the African diaspora returning “home”.
The activity is part of the Legacy Project by the ministry to commemorate the “Year of Return.”
The tourist centre will serve as an information centre and provide a welcoming environment for tourists.
The tourism minister said the government was working hard to ensure that the country derived optimum benefits from the sector to accelerate development of Anomabo and indeed the country at large.
She further stated that more than 200 people of the African diaspora had been granted citizenship by the President while land had been offered to encourage many more to return to the motherland.
She added that the year of return had improved relations between the country and the African diaspora while international media coverage of Ghana had been enhanced and high profile visits to the country gone up.
“There has been tremendous community involvement which has stimulated the local economy including hoteliering, tour operating and other related businesses,” she noted.
The Minister of Tourism said the “Year of Return” had cemented Ghana’s pan-African legacy and had put a global spotlight on the country and helped to position it as a historic, cultural and vibrant hub and had as well changed the narrative of what was reported about Ghana and the rest of Africa in general.
Mrs. Oteng Gyasi said the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) had also had indications of a 100 per cent hotel occupancy rate recorded for the last week of November with increased bookings for tours to areas linked to the trans-Atlantic slave trade such as Cape Coast and Elmina.
Year of Return
The “Year of Return” is a year-long event of the return of the descendants of the first enslaved Africans from James Town in Accra to James town in Virginia in the United States of America (USA).
She said the memorial garden and tourist centre at Anomabo was part of the social impact and community development project and part of the of the ‘Year of Return’ programme, adding that it was expected to invigorate local businesses.
She thereby urges the community to take full advantage of it.
By Emmanuel Amewugah, Daily Mail GH