Actor John Dumelo is calling on Ghanaians to put extra measures in place to ensure sustainability of the beyond the return initiative. He said many African Americans have seen all there’s to see during the 2019 Year of Return including visiting some of Ghana’s treasured sites. Hence the need for new inventions in the tourism industry. The question is what will make them come back again this year? “We need to reinvent tourism in Ghana”, John Dumelo wrote on his Twitter Handle.
He explained that adding on to some of these sites will compel the diasporans to witness the country over again. We need to re-invent tourism in Ghana, We need to add more and develop new sites to make them come back”, he remarked.
The road to beyond the return happened when President Akufo-Addo in September 2018 formally launched the year of return initiative intended to commemorate the 400 years since the first enslaved Africans touched down in Jamestown, Virginia United States. The program made Ghana a travel destination for many African Americans and African diaspora.
Many celebrities including Anthony Anderson, Boris Kodjoe, Naomi Campbell, Steve Harvey, Nicole Ari Parker, Kofi Kingston, Ludacris, Michael Jai White, T.I and others came to Ghana to explore more about their past. Numerous events including Afrochella, Detty Rave, Afro Nation, Back to our Roots Tours, Gold Coast Experience, and Full Circle was organized to end 2019 with the diasporans. The Ghana Tourism Authority said it cost them GHC 6 million in marketing Year of Return both locally and internationally.
Deputy Tourism Minister Dr. Iddi Ziblim, in an interview with Joy News Raymond Acquah also said thanks to the Year of Return Initiative, the tourism ministry added $ 9 billion to the economy. Before 2019 ended many Ghanaians including the North Tongu member of parliament praised the government for or it’s Year of Return declaration. According to Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, the initiative has placed Ghana in the good graces of Africans in the diaspora and raised the reputation of the country.