President Nana Akufo-Addo has said there are plans to make the Year of Return a permanent feature on the Ghanaian calendar.
“The Tourism Minister and her team are sitting down to see if the Year of Return can become a permanent feature of our tourism landscape,” he noted.
President Akufo-Addo believes the success of the 2019 Year of Return is enough justification for the initiative to institutionalize the event.
“The year of return turned out to be a much greater phenomenon than I anticipated. I didn’t realize that when I first raised up the issue, it was going to turn out to be this huge.”
The President was speaking at the Jubilee House when he met members of the Christian Council of Ghana.
The Akufo-Addo government declared 2019 the Year of Return for Ghana to encourage the African diaspora to visit the country.
The campaign was targetted mainly at the African-American market to mark 400 years since the first enslaved African arrived in Jamestown Virginia in the United States of America.
The United States Congress recently passed an Act H.R. 1242 – 400 Years of African-American which is a historically significant milestone.
Ghana is noted as the location of 75 percent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa.
The Ghana Tourism Authority says it spent about GHs 6 million in promoting the Year of Return campaign.
In January 2019, the Ghana Tourism Authority projected that the Year of Return programming would bring 500,000 diasporans.
But this figure is expected to top one million according to projections from Forbes.
Launched in September 2018, the campaign is believed to have raked in $1.9 billion into Ghana’s economy, according to the Tourism Minister.
The government has since dubbed 2020, “Beyond the Return” in a bid to leverage the gains made in 2019.
Below is a video interview of the President with American journalist Roland Martin on the subject.