I/dropcap]dris Elba, Michael Jai White, Naomi Campbell, Boris Kodjoe, Diggy Simmons, Djimon Hounsou, just a few names among the slew of stars who have been to Ghana lately. Behind this meet-up of box office stars, fashion royalty, and top creatives there is an ambitious strategy to make Ghana the major tourist destination. The Ghanaian government recently unveiled a 15-year-long tourism plan that seeks to increase the annual number of tourists to Ghana from one million to eight million per year by 2027. They are planning to raise $8.3 billion a year by 2027, plus associated benefits, according to the plan.
The Year of the Return
400 years since the first African captives were taken from countries like Ghana, Senegambia or Angola to America, during the trans-Atlantic captives trade. This timing has been chosen based on the first recorded landing of a ship carrying Africans in Virginia in August 1619.
The actor Boris Kodjoe, co-organizer of the event even said: “Every person of color needs to get on this pilgrimage”. “They need to experience this journey and get in touch with their emotional heritage, walk through the dungeons and see the ‘door of no return,’” (CNN). Marketing rockstar Bozoma Saint John — who has a series of marketing coups like Beyonce’s halftime Super Bowl show under her belt — worked with Kodjoe, inviting 100 of the most influential members of the African diaspora to party with them at the festival over Christmas and New Year.
Saint John, works for global media conglomerate Endeavor and previously had high profile roles with Uber and Apple Music, says the project is close to her heart. “As long as you have melanin and you are seeking a return to Africa, it is a must,” she told CNN.
Are you coming back home for the pilgrimage this year?