The tourism sector raked in approximately US$3.312 billion during the 2019 Year of Return programme, Minister for Tourism has disclosed.
She indicated that international travellers who visited Ghana during the time grew by 27% with 1.13 million people making the journey as against 956,372 arrivals in 2018.
The Minister stated that the average expenditure per tourist during the period increased from $2,708 in 2018 to $2,931 in 2019.
The Tourism Minister, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, disclosed these in Parliament on Thursday when she responded to a question on the volume of visitors associated with the Year of Return initiative and the estimated economic gains to Ghana for the 2019 fiscal year.
She stated that the increased number of travellers to Ghana positively impacted sector industries such as airlines, hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and art & crafts dealers among others.
Ghana, she said, became the beacon of the “New African Narrative” and was hailed by many as showing leadership and saw many celebrities making the journey to the country.
She said, “Year of Return has changed the narrative about Africa and branded Ghana as the gateway to Africa and one of the top tourism, investment, and repatriation destinations in the world.”
“The Year of Return also benefited from a lot of celebrity endorsements with leading personalities like the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi and the congressional black caucus, Steve Harvey, Samuel L. Jackson, Derrick Johnson (NAACP), Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, Bozoma St. John, Kofi Kingston, Boris Kudjoe, AJ Johnson amongst other leading figures visiting the country”
She stated that Ghana received favourable props from these international celebrities and influencers who took to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to praise the initiative after their visits.
The Year of Return, she said, impacted the Ghanaian economy through increasing international arrivals, branding Ghana as the gateway to Africa and a top diasporan repatriation destination, and increasing the amount of tourism dollars spent.
The Minister averred that a ten year project dubbed BEYOND THE RETURN’ a Decade of African Renaissance 2020 – 2030′ has been initiated to build on the success of the year of Return and to grow Ghana’s Tourism Industry, showcase its investment potential and consolidate its Diaspora engagement.