Ghana expects some one million tourist visitors in 2007 with an expected income of two billion dollars, an official of the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations said last Thursday.
Mr Abeeku Dickson, Special Assistant to the Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations, said 428,533 tourists were recorded to have visited Ghana in 2005 giving the nation about 836 million dollars. The number of arrivals increased by 16 per cent in 2006.
He said the expected increase in 2007 was as a result of “The Joseph Project,” which would come to a climax between July and August this year.
Mr Dickson said the increase in inflows showed that the Ministry had more room to improve when given the needed assistance. The Joseph Project is aimed at reconciling and uniting Africans who had lost contact with their roots back home to contribute to the realisation of African goals.
The celebration, which has a major theme: “Re-uniting the African Family” would also revolve around sub-themes such as “Honouring our African,” “Pan-Africanism,” “Emancipation, our Heritage our Strength.”
Mr Dickson noted that the number of forts and castles along Ghana's coastline showed that most slaves passed through its shores and it was significant that these shores again became their first point of entry.
"Like the Biblical Joseph, some have risen above their captivity and are shining examples of the best of human spirit.”
Mr Dickson said the government intended to convert James Fort in Accra, which kept the first slaves and prisoners, into a home of “African Excellence Experience” for all Africans from all walks of life who triumphed over slavery.
Mr Dickson noted that the slave trade was not accepted by some Africans and Ghanaians in particular saying "Gwollu, in the North West of Ghana, put up a protective wall against slave raiders and the Kyebis in the Eastern Region never traded in slaves."
He said the Ministry would, in future form a Committee of Africans in the Homeland and in the Diaspora to select men and women who qualify to be the "Josephs" of today.