Last January, I had the opportunity to participate in DrakeXGhana, Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s J-Term to the West African country. Throughout the experience, I learned a lot about Ghana’s education system, communication industry and culture. At the end of the class, I wrote my final research paper about Ghana’s tourism industry. Below is that essay.

The “Year of Return”

The year 2019 was coined as the “Year of Return” by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). It was a major marketing campaign targeted to members of the African Diaspora, commemorating 400 years since the first enslaved African arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. According to the GTA and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s 2019 Tourism Report, the tourism initiative brought in over 1.1 million international travelers. This was a 27.92% increase from 2018. The success of the program indicated a promising future for Ghana’s tourism industry.

But then came COVID-19 and it entirely destroyed the tourism industry everywhere. The 2020 tourism report found the amount of international visitors to Ghana fell 68.8%, down to just over 355,000. However, Ghana’s tourism is bouncing back. The country’s investment in tourism initiatives and the number and variety of tourism attractions are contributing to Ghana’s steady return to pre-pandemic levels.

New Initiatives

Much of the increased interest in visiting Ghana can be attributed to the initiatives and investment the country has made in the industry. On April 3, 2022, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the “Destination Ghana” project. Going along with the initiative was federal investment in tourism sites as well as local hospitality and beverage companies.

“This forty-million-dollar ($40 million) project is expected to position the tourism and hospitality sectors as key drivers of social and economic development,” the President said.

Along with Destination Ghana, “December in GH” and “Experience Ghana, Share Ghana,” are programs implemented by the country to increase tourism. With the implementation of these programs, international arrivals returned to 81% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to the GTA’s CEO Akwasi Agyeman. This is much higher than other African countries.

Tourism Attractions

Working in Ghana’s favor is its diversity in tourism assets. The country has its fair share of natural, historical and cultural experiences. The country even has two sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: the Asante Traditional Buildings in Kumasi and the forts and castles located along the coastline. According to the Oxford Business Group, there is a traditional triangular tourist route from Accra, to Cape Coast and to Kumasi. This route offers a variety of tourist attractions like the Kakum National Park and the beaches in Cape Coast. The ecotourism sector is particularly growing with nature experiences seeing an increase in visitors.


However, there are some factors that still prevent Ghana from becoming a tourism hotspot. According to Amina Abugdanpoka Kaguah, head of ENSafrica Ghana, there are five main factors: a lack of trained tourism personnel, ineffective use of technology by tourism businesses, inadequate infrastructure, time constraints for the GTA and not enough funding in the tourism sector. These legitimate factors still have a hold on the industry; however, officials are starting to fully realize the power and impact tourism has on the country.

If Ghana continues to make improvements and makes it easier for tourists to travel to and around the country, tourism may have an even bigger positive economic impact.

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