Located on the Gulf of Gambia in West Africa, Ghana is one of the most fascinating locales on the continent. It's charm continues to grow day by day, especially after becoming the destination of choice for diaspora people with African ancestry.
So what’s behind this growing interest in Ghana?
Let’s take a step back in history to the 16th to 19th century. During the Colonia era, Ghana was the epicenter of the transatlantic slave trade. Cape Coast, perched west of the Capital city, Accra still has traces of over 30 dungeons where African slaves from all over the continent were kept in captivity by colonies before being transported to America. This meant the ancestors of many African Americas today, likely left from these beaches. 400 years later, the country has taken the bold step welcoming diaspora back to Africa.
This movement of going back to Africa isn’t new. In fact, there have been numerous since the abolishment of the slave trade in the 1800s. However, there’s no denying that it has surged in attention in the past few years for various reasons including; the growing political and economic stability of Ghana, as well as movements like Black Lives Matter, which has surged a new sense of pride, unity and a desire for African Americans to embrace their African heritage and ancestry.
And let's not forget the natural cultural beauty of the country.
So in the midst of all these factors, in 2019, Ghana launched a year-long campaign welcoming black people with African ancestry back to the continent. This was to commemorate 4 centuries since the first African slaves arrived in the British colony of Virginia in America.
The main goal of this initiative was to attract the African-Americans back to the homeland and to popularise this West African country as the travel destination of choice for the African diaspora. Dubbed the Gateway to Africa, Ghana has been true to its name in the past few years, welcoming every black person with African ancestry back home both for tourism and settlement.
Just like it was intended, the Year of Return campaign placed Ghana on the global map as a destination worth exploring.
Over half a million people heeded the call and visited while at least 1,500 diasporans made Ghana their permanent home. But that’s not all, according to the Ministry of Tourism in Ghana, that number has continued to grow and hundreds of people have continued to flock to the country in search of history, culture and community.
For the past few years, this movement has been a global phenomenon and one of the most successful initiatives that Africa has seen in the tourism industry. So much so, that other African countries such as Uganda and Nigeria have followed suit.
So how has this impacted Ghana ?
Aside from the obvious benefits like increased revenue from tourism, increase opportunities for commerce, and the growing sense of closure to the African diaspora who could finally set foot in their ancestral homeland, the Year of Return was a blessing to the continent as a whole. It presented Africans with a golden opportunity to position this beautiful continent as the destination to fulfil your dreams.
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