Barbados adopts ‘Year of Return’ initiative

Authorities of the eastern Caribbean island nation Barbabdos have called on Ghana to assist them organize their version of the ‘Year of Return’ in 2020, the Chief Executive Officer for the Ghana Tourism Authority has revealed.

Nana Akwasi Agyeamn said a lot of interest have been shown in the Year of the Return initiative, hence the need to consolidate the programme.

He told Francis Doku, host of the Travel Pass Exclusive on 3FM Sunday December 1, that “Barbados called us that they are doing a similar thing and they want us to help them”.

“They told us that that they are doing ‘Gathering 2020’ but we told them we haven’t finished with ours so they should wait till we finish ours in Ghana.”

He added: “So there is real interest, numbers have moved up but it should inform certain policy directives and decisions on improving the product that we have in order to make Ghana the pilgrimage for the African diaspora like we are pushing.”

Ghana has designated 2019 as the Year of Return to commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in the United States.

The government has been running a massive marketing campaign targeting African-Americans and the diaspora, and various events have been arranged to make Ghana a key travel destination for African-Americans and the rest of the African diaspora.

The campaign is also to rebuild the lost past of these 400 years, to promote investment in Ghana and foster relationships with African-Americans and the African diaspora.

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The likes of Jackson Lee linked the initiative with the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act that was passed in Congress in 2017.

American actor and director Michael Jai White visited Ghana towards the end of 2018. Over 40 African diasporans participated in the “The Full Circle Festival”, which aimed to attract visitors to the country.

Idris Elba, Boris Kodjoe, Naomi Campbell, Anthony Anderson, Kofi Kingston, Adrienne-Joi Johnson and Steve Harvey are among celebrities who have visited the country so far.