A delegation from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and key stakeholders in the tourism industry have visited continental America to promote tourism, forge strategic partnerships and rekindle Ghana’s ‘Beyond the Return’ project within key markets in the United States of America.
The visit was meant to increase current tourist arrivals from the US into Ghana and to deepen the country’s position as an all-inclusive destination for American tourists based on the historical connection between the two countries.
The delegation was led by Tourism Minister Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, and include officials from the Ministry, the Ghana Tourism Authority and Members of Parliament.
About 1.2 million tourists visited Ghana, a chunk of them from US, during the ‘Year of Return’ 2019 celebrations. Stakeholders in the sector seeks to leverage the ‘Year of Return’ to impact the ‘Beyond the Return’.
‘Beyond the Return’ is a diaspora initiative and a follow-up to the Year of Return by the government, not only to promote tourism and home coming of Africans and Ghanaians in the diasporas but to foster economic relations and investments from the diaspora in Africa and Ghana. This initiative is a 10-year plan which falls under the theme ‘A Decade of Renaissance-2020-2030.
An engagement held in conjunction with the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC during the visit, saw a cross section of tour operators, business leaders and media within the African Diaspora in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area attending and pledging their commitment to work with the Ghana Embassy and the GTA to promote Ghana and the ‘Beyond the Return’ agenda.
Ghana’s Ambassador to the USA, Hajia Alima Mahama reiterated the Mission’s resolve to smoothen the pathway for visa acquisition for American tourists and businesses. She expressed her delight in the positive interactions with the tour operators.
The delegation also held discussions with the Provost of Howard University and leaders of the International Center where collaboration on cultural exchanges between the school and other institutions in Ghana and Hospitality training were discussed.
The team also met with the Deputy Mayor of Washington in charge of economic planning, CEOs of Destination DC and Events DC. In New York, the delegation met with the Ghana Permanent Mission to the UN, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Africa Center and organizers of Kente Festival.
Accompanying the Minister were the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture in Parliament, Johnson Adu and Kobby Woyome, Chairman and Ranking member on the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, Carlos Ahenkorah and Armah Kofi Buah, CEO of the GTA, Akwasi Agyeman and Annabelle McKenzie, Manager ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat.