September 2018, Ghanaian President Akufo Addo announced that the country would be launched the “Year of Return” marketing campaign in 2019. The initiative, which targets Africans and African-Americans in the diaspora, was tailored to encourage people to visit the West African country.
On the inside, the campaign was meant to mark 400 years since the first slaves were taken from Africa to the Americas in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
About a week ago, the country announced that it would launch an e-visa next year in view of facilitating easy via acquisition to boost the tourism industry. As such, travelers, rather than visiting embassies for visas, would complete an online application form. On the sidelines, stakeholders were urged to use tourism to tackle some of the common problems facing Africa, especially poverty.
For the celebration, the Ghana Tourism Authority is expected to have about 500,000 visitors this year. This is an increase from the 350,000 people that entered the country in 2018. The Authority expects to make USD 925 Mn in annual revenue for 2019, a value which, if achieved, would mark a 50 percent rise compared to that of 2018.
The World Bank is supporting Ghana with USD 14 Mn to develop tourist sites across the country. Apparently, to make good on its plans to reinvigorate the industry, a number of tourist sites in Ghana need to be upgraded.
Sites such as Gwolu, Nkroful, Nzulezu, Salaga, and Bonwire need to be developed more to attract tourists, says Akwesi Agemang, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Industry (GTA).
Ghana’s tourism has done relatively well in the past couple of years, more than its West African counterparts. Having attracted big names such as Jidenna, Idris Elba, Naomi Campbell, and Michael Jai White, among others, a 15-year-long plan has been created to increase the number of yearly tourists from 1 million to 8 million. Should it be successful, tourism in the country would generate up to USD 8.3 Bn a year by 2027.
The 67 million tourists that visited Africa in 2018 represented a rise of 7 percent from 2017 and made the continent the second-fastest-growing region in tourism – only after the Asia Pacific.
The countries in the region are now enjoying the benefits of a positive array of policy changes. Investments have also increased in the sector, making Africa a more attractive destination for tourists.
Africa’s share of the global tourism industry is small. It accounts for a GDP of 8.5 percent and employs 24.3 million people in the continent, but only 5 percent of international tourist arrivals were to African countries. In 2018, only 1 percent of USD 1.7 Tn earnings in the global tourism sector were on the continent. Nevertheless, tourism is referred to as Africa’s new gold.
In August, New York-based tourism startup Tastemakers raised USD 1.4 Mn to sell African experiences to global customers. The Precursor Ventures-led seed round was reportedly to enable the startup to increase offers from 200 to 10,000.
Featured Image: Ghana Talks Business
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