The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi has inaugurated a steering committee on BEYOND THE YEAR OF RETURN which is an ambitious project outlined by Ghana’s Tourism Ministry, under His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s administration, after having successfully made great stride in organising THE YEAR OF RETURN programme, which saw the influx of many diasporas and celebrities worldwide into the country.

According to Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the BEYOND THE YEAR OF RETURN” project seeks to further consolidate the gains made under “THE YEAR OF RETURN” programme and seeks to boost the country’s tourism sector and hence the socio-cultural and economic advancement of the country.

She further indicated that the project is also envisaged to be a catalyst that would propel Ghana’s Creative Arts Industry, considering that, the creative economy is a multi-billion industry, which can turn around the economic fortunes of the country for the betterment of the Ghanaian citizenry.

The committee is co-chaired by a Board Member of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Kwame Boateng, a lawyer and Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio of the Office of the Diaspora Affairs at the Flag Staff House.

Other members of the committee include the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. John Yao Agbeko, and three representatives from the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Ekow Sampson, Mr. Ben Anane Nsiah, and Mrs. Roberta Dawson Amoah.

Other representatives include Mr. Lawrence Kofi Azuma from the Ministry of National Security, Prof. Esi Sutherland Addy from the PANAFEST Foundation, Mrs. Khadijah Iddrisu from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Shaibu Pabi, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Ms. Edith Arhin from the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr. Yoofi Grant  from the  Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mrs. Amy Appiah-Frimpong from the Ghana National Theatre, Ms. Jessica Ayivor from AAAG, Mr. Kingsly  Ofosu Ntiamoa From the Ghana Museum and Monuments  Board and some representatives from the African American Association of Ghana.

The “BEYOND THE YEAR OF RETURN programme, according to the Hon. Minister is primarily hinged on seven (7) cardinal pillars and outlined as follows: Experience Ghana, invest in Ghana, Brand Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Pathway to Ghana, give back to Ghana and Improve Tourism Heritage Assets.

Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi entreated the committee to endeavor to deliver on their mandate and also used the occasion to eulogize the committee members for the YEAR OF RETURN” for the excellent performance in organising the programme.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), who is also the project coordinator of the programme, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman recounted the success stories chalked by THE YEAR OF RETURN event, and intimated that Covid-19 has presented a new dawn of challenge to the implementation of the new project and gave the assurance that his outfit would do its best to ensure that the objective of the current project is realized to enable Ghana derive its fullest benefit.

The Co-Chairperson of the committee, who is also a board member of the GTA Mr. Kwame Boateng stressed that in spite of Covid-19, Ghana’s tourism sector would bounce back and thrive for the better. He indicated that his team would live up to expectation in order to achieve the intended purpose for which the BEYOND THE YEAR OF RETURN programme has been envisaged by government.

The committee members were sworn into office by a High Court Judge, Justice Alex Owusu-Ofori.

BACKGROUND

The BEYOND THE YEAR OF RETURN programme is an epilogue to the Year of Return Ghana 2019 campaign event, and sought to commemorate the 400 years of arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia, USA.  It was launched by the President of the Republic of Ghana, H. E.  Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in 2018 in Washington, Virginia in the USA.