Ghana’s tourism industry, particularly that of the African Diaspora, benefited greatly from the recent holiday season in December. It was part of the “Beyond the Return” campaign, which aimed to build on the success of the 2019 “Year of Return” initiative and was dubbed “December in Ghana.”

The place of diaspora or roots tourism, particularly on the African continent, is the subject of this article.

It is important to note that more white people visit our destinations than black Diaspora residents. You can see from records that the tourism movement is skewed far away from diaspora Africans visiting the continent and the other way around.

Africa receives the majority of its passengers from Europe. The less we talk about intra-African tourism, the better. The sprinkle of uplifting news is that African nations, for example, Rwanda have presented sans visa access for Ghanaians.

It is anticipated that additional policies of this kind will gradually open up intra-African tourism from our nation and other African nations.

Despite the fact that the majority of African nations have recognized tourism as a game-changer for their economies, there is still a lot of work to be done before it becomes a real business. Until this point in time, promoting approaches generally disregard a developing and worthwhile portion: young black tourists from across the globe. During the so-called “black travel moment” of recent years, thousands of African Americans in particular have traveled to other countries in search of new experiences.

More and more wealthy African Americans are interested in connecting with contemporary urban Africa rather than just going on safaris. While niche African American travel companies have existed for decades, a new generation of Instagram-savvy startups is disrupting the tourism industry by providing experiences curated for black culture.

Sadly, African tourism authorities are not making the most of this expansion. A check of the numbers would show that it is a market deserving of venture. White baby boomers are the most frequent travelers to Africa, according to statistics, while China is quickly catching up. However, few African governments are launching similar programs with black travelers in mind, despite the fact that African governments are forming new partnerships with China and India specifically to ease travel.

For instance, the South African Tourism Board primarily targets black Americans in its marketing efforts. Senegal also heavily targets that market to some extent.

Marketing and who has the money to spend on it are a part of the issue. When it comes to global travel exhibitions like the New York Times Travel Show, more established tour operators have traditionally targeted white Europeans and Americans with their offerings. However, the fact of the matter is that a fascinating development is taking place: young African Americans are showing an interest in Africa that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s.

There is a new, more intimate curiosity to discover Africa beyond the traditional images of lions and game reserves thanks to sounds like Afrobeats and the growing popularity of African textiles in modern fashion.

State-run tourism agencies would be required to assist emerging tour operators in catering to this new traveler group.

A huge window of opportunity for the sector would open up if these organizations’ leadership opened the market and provided strong leads. Small operators have discovered the trans-Atlantic curiosity’s potential and are taking advantage of it without oversight or assistance. So-called heritage trips, which promise to reconnect African Americans with their long-lost ancestral villages but leave a feeling of disappointment or even dishonesty, are filling the void.

Meanwhile, negative stereotypes or a lack of information prevent more and more Black Americans from traveling to the continent beyond Senegal’s Goree Island and Ghana’s Cape Coast and Elmina Castles. Cost, harassment, and the perception that some Africans dislike Black Americans are all disincentives.

Family vacations, heritage or “roots” tourism, medical tourism, business travel, and “birthright” tours are all examples of diaspora tourism. However, diaspora members are generally more likely than the majority of international tourists to contribute to the local economy when they travel to their country of heritage, regardless of the reason for their trip.

Because they are familiar with the culture, recent immigrants may not require higher rates from international agents to feel at ease and at home. Diaspora tourists are less likely to stick to foreign-owned tourist enclaves that import their supplies and export their profits as a result. Typically, diaspora tourists are more likely than other international tourists to stay in locally owned or smaller accommodations (including with friends and family), eat in local restaurants, and purchase locally produced goods.

Diasporas can assist in opening new tourist markets for their ancestral nations. After making connections during their visits, pioneering tourists might decide to invest in businesses in the area. They will probably get other people to come by word of mouth, and they might get involved in local community projects.

Source: Graphic online

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