The Year of Return, Ghana 2019 is an initiative of the government of Ghana that is intended to encourage African diasporans to come to Africa (specifically Ghana) to settle and invest in the continent. It was formally launched by President Nana Akufo-Addo in September 2018 in Washington, D.C. as a program for Africans in the diaspora to unite with Africans. The year 2019 is symbolic as it commemorates 400 years since the first enslaved Africans touched down in Jamestown, Virginia in the United States. The program also recognizes the diaspora’s achievements and sacrifices in the time since that event. The Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture have lined up a slate of activities in “celebration of the resilience of the African spirit.
The key themes that the Year of Return Initiative seeks to establish are:
- To make Ghana a key travel destination for African Americans and the rest of the African diaspora.
- To rebuild the lost past of these 400 years.
- To promote investment in Ghana and foster relationships with African Americans and the African diaspora.
Up to 1.5 million tourists are expected in the country by the end of the year with up to 1.9 billion dollars also expected to be accrued in revenue as a result of the Year of Return activities. The tourism sector has also recorded a tremendous growth of 18% in international arrivals from the Americas, Britain, Caribbean and other key countries while total airport arrivals increased by 45% for the year.
It is estimated spending of tourists has seen a significant increase from $1,862 in 2017 to the current figure of $2,589 per tourist, with the impact of tourism on the economy estimated to be about $1.9 billion. (source Wikipedia Dec 2019).