Tourism minister outdoors ‘Year of Return’ cloth

By Hafsa Obeng, GNA

Accra, July 4, GNA – The Minister of
Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi on Wednesday outdoored the
2019 ‘Year of Return’ cloth.

The Minister unveiled the cloth at the third
edition of the Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming summit, 2019, which is
part of activities earmarked for the celebration of the “Year of Return”, in
Accra.

She said the event was being held at a time
when the country was in the spotlight for the right reasons for welcoming the
global African community.

She said the ‘Year of Return’ which was
proclaimed by the President, last year commemorates 400 years since the first
enslaved Africans arrived in the USA and celebrates the resilience of the
African spirit.

The Minister said the year-long activity,
which is spearheaded by the Ghana Tourism Authority, is a concerted public
private effort with stakeholders like the Diaspora Affairs Office at the
Presidency, the Manifest Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Adikra group.

She said since its launch the ‘Year of
Return’ had endorsed over 78 events for a yearlong celebration and
commemoration, saying the Ghana Diaspora celebration and home coming summit,
one of the pillar activities of the year of return, comes at a time when the
potential landscape of opportunities in the country is growing.

Mrs Oteng Gyasi said despite being away many
Ghanaians continue to invest in the country through remittances, starting
businesses and donations to organization.

She said in tourism, while the Ghanaian
Diaspora was an important part of inbound market, the key role the Ghanaian
Diaspora play in job creation across the tourism value chain cannot be
underestimated.

“Many hotels, guesthouses, hostels,
restaurants, sites and attractions, are either owned or managed by the Ghanaian
Diaspora.”

She said 
in this ‘Year of return’ we are keen to closely engage the second and
third Ghanaian generation, the bulk of whom have never visited Ghana to look at
Ghana as their holiday destination and a country of new frontiers and
opportunities.”

She commended the Diaspora home coming
committee for spearheading the event which has become a flagship for engaging
the Diaspora outside of Ghana.

“Ghanaians have travelled far and wide and
everywhere they have been, they have not only made their mark, but continue to
make a significant impact here at home.”

Two years ago, the summit saw over 2000
delegates in attendance to network and build new relations that created
stronger ties to Ghana, and many left the conference with a renewed sense of
direction on how they could contribute to Ghana’s growth, she said.

She urged them to look at Ghana as an
investment option and use the time as an opportunity to network, engage and
form solid relationships that would help them contribute to the building of the
country.

Mr Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Director of Diaspora
Affairs at the Presidency, said the ‘Year of Return’ is a step in exploring the
rich Ghanaian heritage and economic opportunities in the country and the
celebration builds on the previous ones especially the 2017 event.

Mr Ababio said it is an event rallying Ghanaians
living abroad to dialogue, network and explore economic and investment
opportunities in the country in furtherance of the President’s agenda of Ghana
beyond Aid.

He said the aim of this third summit was to
highlight and celebrate the various achievements of the Diaspora towards
Ghana’s development

He said government was fully aware of the
difficulties many compatriots living abroad face when they return home, saying
there is the need for Ghana to have a Diaspora engagement policy that would
enable the Diaspora to be engaged.

Mr Ababio said the four day submit was to
celebrate the immense contribution that the Ghanaian Diaspora have made and the
sessions of the summit would highlight on the past and the present action of
the Diaspora and the future opportunities of working together to build Ghana.

He assured the Diaspora community that the
Diaspora Affairs Office was committed to support them continuously as they
contribute in diverse ways towards Ghana’s development.

GNA

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