Abeiku Aggrey Santana, a Tourism Ambassador, has applauded the Government for the Year of Return initiative describing it as ‘largely’ successful.
According to the host of Drive Time on Okay Fm, the program has achieved continental recognition as neighbouring country Nigeria has replicated the initiative.
The Year of Return which was launched by President Akufo Addo in September 2018 in Washington, D.C was for Africans in the diaspora to visit Ghana to commemorate 400 years since the first slaves left Ghana for the US.
The Initiative brought some prominent personalities to Ghana with the Tourism Ministry estimating some $1.9 billion was pumped into the economy as a result of the program.
Speaking with blogger, Zionfelix, the decorated Journalist said the Year of Return is the first initiative to achieve a massive national tourism promotion which has attracted unprecedented numbers to the country.
“Year of Return has really done well. Ghana Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Tourism and the Government of Ghana have really done well. President Akufo-Addo went to America to invite people to come home. Besides that, the Ministry of Tourism brought some celebrities to come and promote the country. Tourism is like marketing, whatever you have if you don’t market it, people will not know. This is the first time we’ve had a massive National Tourism promotion which has attracted unprecedented numbers,” he said.
To consolidate the gains of this initiative, President Akufo-Addo in December last year, launched ‘Beyond the Return’ which will not only promote tourism and homecoming of Africans and Ghanaians in the diasporas but foster economic relations and investments between the diaspora and Ghana and Africa as whole.
Although some have argued that the President should have rather launched a ‘Decade of Return’, the broadcast journalist said the theme for the initiative is not as important as the marketing and promotion that has been invested in it.
Citing examples such as Cote D’Ivoire and Togo, Abeiku Santana said it will be prudent for Ghana to continue on this path since the program has the ability to set the pace for other African countries to follow.
“The theme is not important. What is important is we have done marketing and promotion. Beyond Year of Return is not as important as the promotion itself. Now Nigerians are copying. Let’s not slack. They’ve also brought the Door of Return. I read a book which says when you become successful, people want to copy you, the Year of Return has been successful and many countries like Cote D’Ivoire, Togo would want to Replicate so the theme is not as important as the promotion,” he said.