Celebrated Ghanaian creative personality, Kwame Ametepee Tsikata, known professionally as M.anifest, has applauded the Ghana Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, and all stakeholders who have ensured the success of the December in Ghana initiative.
December in Ghana is an initiative by the government of Ghana through the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture to make Ghana the best destination for the Christmas holidays and festivities.
Howard University in the United States of America has declared the 2022-2023 academic year as the ‘Year of Ghana’ and is having lots of programs to tell black history.
M.anifest speaking at one of the sessions emphasized how the said initiative is enriching black history and how black people acknowledge themselves in different ways.
“It’s beautiful that, now when you come to Ghana in December, the majority of people on the plane coming to Ghana are blacks, it’s incredible and this didn’t happen out of fancy words but out of openness, execution of the initiative by the government and a lot”.M.anifest
According to him, this initiative has proven that Africans, especially Ghanaians, acknowledge the value of blackness, for example, through tourism, the arts, and culture.
He believes one of the biggest shining lights on the continent is the arts industry, which is doing so well both at home and overseas.
Since 2019, thousands of Africans from the diaspora have retreated to the country after President Nana Akuffo-Addo officially announced and launched the ‘Year of Return’ campaign late in 2018, in hope of encouraging people of African descent to reconnect and unite on the very soil many the ancestors were taken from hundreds of years ago.
Ghana Tourism Authority
The Ghana Tourism Authority is a Ghanaian state agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Creative Arts responsible for the regulation of tourism in Ghana by marketing, promoting, licensing, classifying, researching, and developing tourism facilities and services in the country.
The Ghana Tourism Authority was established in 1960 as the Ghana Tourist Board. The board was renamed the Ghana Tourism Authority in 2011 under act 817.
The act extended the tasks of the agency to oversee the implementation of government policies in the industry. The act also makes the agency a fully-fledged income-generating authority by establishing a fund to which every tourism business is required to contribute one percent (1%) of its revenue for tourism development.
The Ghana Tourism Authority has instituted some days annually to celebrate various themes in the country.
The annual occurrence has now turned into what many would consider a bucket list experience. There are dozens of concerts, and people party and celebrate into the early morning hours, and now, Black American celebrities are getting in on the action by hosting their own events in Accra during that time.
Using data from Kotoka International Airport, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) said that 116,438 international arrivals from all entry points in December 2019 were the most tourists to arrive in a single month in recent history. This was made possible by the ‘Year of Return’.
“Beyond the Return” is a follow-up to the successful “Year Of Return” #YearOfReturn, Ghana 2019’ campaign which commemorated the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first recorded enslaved Africans in Jamestown Virginia in 1619.
The landmark campaign also celebrated the resilience of Africans over the past 400 years and welcomed all people of African origin to return to Africa, especially Ghana.
However, the numbers declined in 2020 to 43,645, representing a 62.52 percent decrease compared to the COVID-19 pandemic, which came with travel restrictions.
After that, the numbers went up by 94.67 percent to 84,965 in 2021 and kept going up to 98,873 in December of last year, which had a big effect on all parts of the tourism industry.