Mr. Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), said the event would mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the United States (US).
“This historical programme is very dear to the Authority and the nation in general since it represents a unique opportunity for Ghana to cement its Pan-African leadership.”
He said this in a speech read on his behalf at the 13th edition of the Ashanti Regional Tourism Awards’ in Kumasi.
The “Year of Return” celebration presents the nation with the added advantage of showcasing her tourism potentials.
“Ghana remains home to the global African family. For centuries, Africans walked through the infamous ‘Door of No Return’ at the Cape Coast castle directly into slave ships to the US, Latin America and the Caribbean,” the CEO added.
He said given the cultural and socio-economic significance of the event, the GTA was doing everything to make sure that tourist facilities were put in the best of shape to receive the expected visitors.
Twenty (20) individuals and organizations were recognized for distinguished performance at this year’s regional awards.
Mr. Peter Achampong, the Regional Manager of the GTA, described as refreshing, the announcement by President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his recent State of the Nation’s address, of a $40 million World Bank grant to support the tourism and creative arts sector.
The grant would help to bring significant transformation to the sector, he said, adding that, given the requisite investment, the tourism industry could make meaningful contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Among the award winners were the Manhyia Palace, which was adjudged the visitor attraction of the year award, Golden Tulip City, the Four-Star hotel of the year, Las Palmas Food Joint, traditional caterer of the year and Astolinks Travel and Tours, tour operator of the year.