‘Return Conversations: Role of Film and Music in Uniting Global Africans’ Event Held To Strengthens Ties between Ghana and the Diaspora

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Accra, Ghana – July 25, 2023 – The Ghana Tourism Authority as part of the Beyond the Return project has successfully hosted another edition of the ‘Return Conversations’ on July 25, 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre. Themed ‘Role of Film and Music in Uniting Global Africans,’ the event brought together key stakeholders and luminaries from the music and film industries in Ghana and the United States, sparking thought-provoking discussions and fostering unity and interconnectedness among Global Africans.

 

 

The event featured captivating panel discussions, expertly facilitated by industry leaders and engaging speakers. The conversations delved into the ways in which film and music play a pivotal role in unifying Global Africans and fostering mutual growth and prosperity.  This year hip-hop artist Ludacris came to Ghana and worked with local artists including Sarkodie to produce new music.  Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Popcaan have all worked with local Ghanaian artists to make music that shines a spotlight on our local talents.

 

 

Most recently the film ‘Coming to Africa: Welcome to Ghana’ opened at Silverbird in Accra and Kumasi.  One of the panelists, PY Addo-Boateng, was a producer and actor in the movie.  The film was an example of the fruits of collaborative efforts between the diaspora and Ghanaians in the film industry.  

The event showcased an exceptional lineup of speakers, each making significant contributions to their respective fields. 

 

 

 

Speakers included:

  • Jason Carter: CEO, ONE Music Festival. He is a visionary leader with over 20 years of lifestyle marketing and business start-up experience. Carter is the founder of the One Music Festival and is renowned for fostering collaboration and cultural exchange between artists worldwide.
  • Jasmine Young: Director, Warner Music, and Blavatnik Center for Music Business – An influential figure in the music industry, advocating for artists’ rights and innovative music strategies.
  • Trigmatic: Renowned Musician and supporter of arts and culture. The celebrated Ghanaian musician uses his music as a powerful tool to address social issues.
  • Rocky Dawuni: Multiple Grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist. Dawuni, a critically acclaimed Ghanaian music icon, consistently advocates for the betterment of society and addresses environmental and social causes through the power of music.
  • PY Addo-Boateng: Music Executive, Film Producer, Actor, and Event Producer. A multifaceted creative force contributing significantly to the entertainment industry in Africa.
  • Robert Hardy: Film and TV Director, Film Producer, and Screenwriter. A seasoned professional with an impressive body of work in the film industry.
  • Juliet Ibrahim: Multiple award-winning Actress, Film Producer, Author, and Entrepreneur. A talented artist with notable contributions to the film and entertainment industry in both Ghana and Nigeria.
  • Ama K. Abebrese: Award-winning Actress, TV Presenter, and Producer. An accomplished performer and television personality with a passion for storytelling.
  • Socrate Safo: Director, Filmmaker, and Director for Creative Arts at the National Commission on Culture. A prominent figure in Ghana’s film industry, advocating for the development of creative arts.
  • AJ Johnson: Veteran Actress, TV Producer, Life Coach, and Philanthropist. Widely recognized for her roles in the movies ‘House Party’ and ‘Baby Boy’, Johnson is a multifaceted personality dedicated to empowering others and making a positive impact. Her passion for bridging the gap between Ghana and the diaspora is unwavering.

 

With so many platforms around the world expressing more interest in African content, the time is now for Ghana to work towards building an industry that can make a global impact. Partnering with the diaspora is one of the ways to develop and increase our reach to audiences. “I see the potential for greatness in our music and film industries,”  said Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return Secretariat. “The diaspora and Ghanaians can come together to tell some of the great stories from Africans and African Americans. Although we have some cultural differences due to being on different continents, we have so much more in common than we realize. This makes for great potential when it comes to storytelling in a unique way.”

 

 

” The Return Conversations is a gathering of minds where we embark on a journey to Bridge the gap. In a world that often divides is, this platform has opened up opportunities for us to use story-telling and the universal language of Music to unite us and celebrate our rich heritage” , said Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). 

The event was a success as stakeholders in the film and music industry were in attendance including young up and coming artists who were there to network and learn from seasoned professionals. The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture was the special guest. Other attendees included Juliet Asante, CEO of the National Film Authority , Seth Adjei Baah , Board chair of GTA.

 

Beyond the Return Campaign – A Decade of African Renaissance

The event was part of Beyond the Return’s continued efforts since 2020 to connect with the diaspora community in the arts and business. The Beyond the Return campaign is a 10-year initiative with the theme, ‘A decade of African Renaissance.’ It operates under the Ghana Tourism Authority and is the follow-up to the successful Year of Return campaign in 2019, which witnessed an overwhelming response from the global African diaspora to come back to Ghana. The purpose of such events is to find ways to work together towards a common goal of building stronger connections in business, film, music, and entertainment overall. The talents in Ghana and the diaspora have the power to come together and create something great, and it all begins with dialogues where collective goals and visions can be forged.

For more information on the Beyond the Return campaign, please visit the website: www.beyondthereturngh.com.

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National Geographic announces Ghana as one of top destinations for 2023

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The year 2023 is just around the corner and amongst the top 25 breathtaking places and experiences for any traveller is Ghana.

Nation Geographic has taken the lead, to inspire travellers for the coming year and help them plan with “the hope is that 2023 will be not just a big return to travel but also to rediscovering wonder,” according to Amy Alipio, senior editor for National Geographic Travel and quoted on CNN travel.

In the announcement by National Geographic, Ghana is featured in the category ‘Community’ which was introduced in this year’s list, replacing “sustainability” with a broader “community” category highlighting how conservation benefits everyone.

The list which announces destinations for the year ahead, highlights places filled with wonder, rewarding to travellers of all ages, and supportive of local communities and ecosystems.

Ghana is thus being recognised as “an important destination for Black heritage travellers in West Africa”. National Geographic is therefor urging travellers to “head to Ghana to explore Black heritage and hang out with a fashion-forward crowd in the capital, Accra.”

 

Below is the list of the top 25.

National Geographic’s Best of the World 2023 list:

CULTURE
Appian Way, Italy
Busan, South Korea
Longmen Grottoes, Henan Province, China
Egypt
Charleston, South Carolina
NATURE
Scottish Highlands
Botswana
Slovenia
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Azores
ADVENTURE
New Zealand
Choquequirao, Peru
Utah
Austrian Alps
Revillagigedo National Park, Mexico
COMMUNITY
Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Alberta, Canada
Laos
Ghana
FAMILY
Trinidad & Tobago
San Francisco Crosstown Trail, California
Colombia
Manchester, United Kingdom
Switzerland

This announcement comes on the heels of several others in the past 4 years since Ghana launched renewed efforts at marketing its tourism with the flagship ‘Year of Return‘ campaign and its successor, the “Beyond The Return“.

Ghana also launched the ‘December In GH‘ campaign making the country a hub for fun and entertainment during the yuletide. This has drawn many people of African origin to visit the motherland including several Hollywood stars, Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP. Campaign hashtags include: #DestinationGhana #ExperienceGhana #ShareGhana #VisitGhanaNow #SeeGhana #EatGhana #WearGhana #FeelGhana

By: Collins, sourced from National Geographic & CNN

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African Diaspora in Ghana to join Beyond the Return to plant trees as Ghana goes green

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The ‘Beyond The Return’ program is partnering with the local diaspora community to plant trees for the “Green Ghana Project,” which is an initiative championed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission.

On Friday, 11th June 2021, five million trees will be planted across Ghana. Planting trees will help protect watersheds, reduce erosion and moderate the climate, and serve as habitat and provide food for many birds and other wildlife.

Diasporans representing the Diaspora Coalition, African American Association of Ghana, Ghana Caribbean Association, Omega Psi Phi Tau Chi chapter, and Voyajah will plant trees on behalf of the ‘Beyond The Return’ program and the Give Back Ghana” pillar.

About Beyond the Return
‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year initiative with the theme, ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’. The vision is to continue fostering relationships with the global diaspora community through tourism, investments and repatriation.
The initiative is a follow up to Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’ campaign and is Cordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture.

For more information about ‘Beyond The Return’ visit www.beyondthereturngh.com or social media @beyondthereturn

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CNN Travel Names Ghana As One Top 21 Places To Visit In 2021

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In an article published by CNN Trravel outlining the top 21 places to visit in 2021, Ghana has been featured again in the company of other places such as Paris and Egypt. Ghana is featured based on the success of the Year Of Return and the propoects of its sucessor, Beyond The Return. Read Article below to discover why one should visit Ghana:
— From the gloomy depths of a Northern Hemisphere winter like no other, it can seem futile thinking about vacation plans for the year ahead.
With most of the planet still in the grips of the pandemic and vaccines a long way off for so many of us, traveling for pleasure could be thought of as at best foolish, at worst, downright risky.
One thing we do know, however, is that this situation isn’t forever. For some of us, escape could be a matter of weeks away. For others, it could be coming in the middle, or even the end, of the year.
But it will come eventually, and freedom to explore will be back in the cards.
It’s in this spirit that CNN Travel has compiled its list of 21 places to visit in 2021. We’re fully aware that some of these destinations may remain off limits for some time to come and that embarking on a trip may not be advisable.
But in an era where tourism is part of the global language, we’ll continue to look ahead to the time when we can take our first tentative steps back out into the world and make good on those dreams we’ve been saving up.
With that in mind, we’ve assembled a collection of mostly blockbuster destinations that we think are going to be high on your travel wish lists. The 21 places YOU want to go.
These are not the obscure, or undiscovered gems that often populate places-to-go rundowns (although we did throw in a couple of unexpected spots). These are the solid-gold vacation hits that everyone needs right now.
To help with getting you there, for each destination we’ve also built a separate guide to what you need to know before you go, covering entry restrictions, current Covid guidelines and safeguards, plus what kind of vacation you can expect when you finally make it.
See somewhere you like: bookmark the guide and keep checking back for updates. We’ll keep you posted with all the latest developments as they happen.
The Ghana Case: Ghana in West Africa is continuing to bank on diaspora tourism with a new campaign, Beyond the Return. Its Year of Return initiative in 2019 targeted international visitors of African descent.
Antarctica: Making the planet’s southern reaches even more enticing in 2021 is a December 4 solar eclipse that will darken the seventh continent, creating a major event for Antarctic cruise lines to trumpet. Click through the gallery for 20 more destinations to consider when the pandemic eases up:
Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images
With the cancellation of the 2020-2021 Antarctic cruise season, there is a lot of pent-up desire to make our biggest travel dreams come true.
One of the most remote destinations on the planet, Antarctica is not an easy (or affordable) endeavor under the best circumstances.
Perhaps the difficulty is part of the allure — the seventh continent remains on the top of many travelers’ wish lists. The striking white desert, with its dramatic, snowy peaks and vibrant turquoise waters, as well its exotic wildlife, including Emperor penguins and Weddell seals, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Making the locale even more enticing in 2021 is a December 4 solar eclipse that will darken the continent, creating a major event for Antarctic cruise lines to trumpet.
Silversea’s Silver Cloud 11-day sailing departs on November 30, with rates starting at $20,520, with a 10% early booking discount and economy flights included.
Ponant’s offering also departs on November 30, but for 15 days aboard the first luxury hybrid electric polar-class vessel, Le Commandant-Charcot, starting from $17,790.
For those who are trepidatious about cruising, there are other options, including one from UK-based Red Savannah that transports passengers across the continent via private jet over nine days, for about $100,000. — Brekke Fletcher

Canada

Canada has a swoon-worthy landscape for every traveler.
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Skiing, surfing, hiking, polar-bear spotting and Northern-lights sighting. Eclectic cuisine, world-class shopping, a diverse and rich culture. This is Canada.
The 13 provinces and territories that make up the world’s second-largest country by total area has something swoon-worthy for every type of traveler.
Nature lovers take solace in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and Atlantic or Pacific coastlines while sophisticated palates nosh at Michelin-starred restaurants and hole-in-the-wall mainstays alike.
Nightlife seekers will find vibrant club scenes in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, though smaller cities Edmonton and Calgary know how to play too.
The laid-back visitor has a bevy of chill choices: among them Tofino, Canada’s original hippie destination; Kelowna, a picturesque lakeside wine country; and St. John’s, one of the country’s friendliest places.
In New Brunswick, the recently opened Fundy Trail Parkway boasts wild views of the Bay of Fundy coast and the world’s highest tides.
Venture further north and it just gets wilder. Neither Nunavut nor Northwest Territories are easy to get to, but the rewards of visiting the remote regions — from the indigenous Inuit people’s artwork of the former, to the natural wonders (including unparalleled Northern Lights) of the latter — are countless.
Hot hotel openings include the anticipated spring 2021 debut of W Toronto and Halifax’s first five-star hotel, Muir Hotel. The property, set to open in August, will feature cold plunge and hydrotherapy pools with a halotherapy salt room. — Stacey Lastoe

Disney parks

If it were up to most kids, every family holiday would include a visit to a Disney theme park. There’s nothing comparable to the look of joy on a kid’s face the second they step through the gates and lay their eyes on that gorgeous castle and get their first-ever photo with Mickey.
These days, adults can’t be blamed for wanting to make a beeline to their nearest Disney park either, given the new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” themed lands at both the Disneyland and Disney World resorts in the US — open for less than a year before the pandemic hit. In particularly high demand is the Rise of the Resistance, the most ambitious interactive attraction in Disney park history.
Disney World’s Epcot, meanwhile, has been going through a major transformation of its own, with more of these changes set to open in 2021. Perhaps most exciting is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a child-friendly ride due to open as part of the expansion of Epcot’s France pavilion in the World Showcase.
And speaking of makeovers, on the other side of the planet Hong Kong Disneyland has been going through a big one. The Asian park recently revealed its dazzling new Castle of Magical Dreams, which has been under construction since 2018 and replaces its Sleeping Beauty Castle. Part of the park’s ongoing multiyear expansion plan, it features a mix of architectural styles inspired by different cultures, while paying tribute to the multiple Disney princess stories. — Karla Cripps

Dubai

Dubai is still open for most visitors.
Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images
While vacation planning for 2021 can seem like a wild roll of the dice, a trip to Dubai is a safer bet than most. The glitziest of the United Arab Emirates is currently welcoming almost all global travelers and, with the emirate embracing thorough safety checks and protocols, you can enjoy relative peace of mind while you’re there too.
UAE flag carrier Emirates Airlines is offering free global coverage for Covid-19 health expenses and quarantine costs, while the legendary ocean-themed luxury resort Atlantis, The Palm will cover your Covid test and give you resort credit if you stay five nights or more. Its billion-dollar sister hotel, The Royal, is also set to open its doors in 2021.
The long-awaited Expo 2020 Dubai has been rescheduled for October 2021 through March 2022 and the lavish mega-event is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East. Visitors can expect world-class architecture, spectacular displays and a festival of food.
Also expected next year is the opening of the grandly named Museum of the Future, the calligraphy-adorned facade of which is already an impressive new landmark in a city known for its buildings with wow factor. — Maureen O’Hare

Egypt

Egypt’s supply of ancient wonders is seemingly limitless, and 2021 may be just the year to show them all off to a world starved for cultural discovery.
Many of Egypt’s most celebrated artifacts are finally expected to get a gleaming new home this year at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) close to the site of the Pyramids of Giza.
The museum — a monumental concrete and glass space measuring nearly half a million square meters with a price tag of over $1 billion — was conceived in 2003 and has been under construction for eight years.
While the opening date has not been set, the long-delayed museum is sure to be a huge draw. A headliner: King Tutankhamun’s treasures will all be exhibited together for the first time.
A number of sarcophagi from Saqqara — newly discovered in 2020 — will be transferred to the GEM, as will wooden coffins found in Luxor in 2019.
No doubt more new discoveries will be added to the lineup — providing a deep dive into 5,000 years of history that can also be traced by trekking across Egypt to the tombs themselves. — Marnie Hunter

France

Rolling fields of lavender or grape vineyards are among highlights of a trip to France.
Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images
The bistros, boulangeries, patisseries and fromageries are reason enough to hotfoot it to France when the world starts moving in earnest.
And the rest of the things that drew nearly 90 million visitors to France in 2019 will start coming to life again too: world-class art exhibitions, elegant chateaux, towering cathedrals, medieval villages, glamorous stretches of coast and endless tangles of wine-producing vines.
With any luck, corks will be popping in June at the Bordeaux Wine Festival — the largest in Europe, and hopefully the line-up at Jazz à Juan in Antibes Juan-les-Pins in July will provide a fitting soundtrack to a summer showing signs of a return to communal life.
For a regal, live-it-up kind of stay, Le Grand Contrôle — a historic hotel in the heart of the Château de Versailles with an Alain Ducasse restaurant and indoor swimming pool — is set to open to guests in 2021. — Marnie Hunter

Ghana

Its Year of Return initiative in 2019 targeted international visitors of African descent, and Ghana in West Africa is continuing to bank on diaspora tourism with its new campaign Beyond the Return.
Land and sea borders currently remain closed, but now is a good time to acquaint yourself with the country’s hip cultural offerings, from an arts and fashion renaissance to new restaurant and hotel openings.
Adventurers can catch waves at deserted beaches at Cape Three Points, one of West Africa’s best surfing spots, and may spot some humpback whales too. Mole National Park is Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge and is where you can see Nolan warthogs and spotted hyenas and get close to ambling elephants.
Capital city Accra has little in the way of major attractions, but remains charming and lively. For a fashionable, cosmopolitan vibe head to Osu and the area surrounding the airport, where you’ll find designer shops and art galleries. — Maureen O’Hare

Greece

Sunset over Greece’s rugged Mani region.
Barry Neild/CNN
If we do make it back to normality in 2021, Greece will have more reason than most to celebrate — it’s marking its 200th birthday. The official anniversary of when an 1821 revolution sparked a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire is in February-March, but parties and events to mark the bicentennial are expected — Covid permitting — throughout the year.
The charming port of Nafplio, in the Peloponnese region southwest of Athens, is as good a place as any to join in the celebrations — it was modern Greece’s first capital. As well as beaches and nearby ancient sites like the remarkable Epidaurus amphitheater and the imposing ruins of Mycenae, Nafplio has its own attractions, including the hilltop Palamidi fortress, a secluded beach and, especially apt for these times, a museum of worry beads.
Beyond Nafplio, the Peloponnese are worth exploring. Less touristed than many of Greece’s hotspots, they’re more set up for social distancing, especially on the wild and mountainous Mani Peninsula. That said, most of Greece, which is known to take health matters very seriously, seemed to cope well with creating a Covid-safe visitor experience in the summer of 2020, succumbing to a virus surge far later than most European destinations.
While a slow return to normal might make previously overtouristed places like Santorini worth a look in 2021, there’s no loss in playing it safe with a quieter option, like the island of Milos in the Cyclades — a plane or ferry hop from Athens. This volcanic playground has a beach for every day of the month, with more than a few to spare. — Barry Neild

Grenada

While Grenada’s nickname comes from its famous nutmeg industry, the “Isle of Spice” is packed with flavor in every way possible.
Measuring just 18 kilometers wide and 34 kilometers long, the eastern Caribbean island is made up of sandy beaches, lush rainforests and spectacular waterfalls, but it’s Grenada’s rich character that sets it apart from more well-known tropical destinations.
Although each of its seven parishes has its own very distinct charm and appeal, Grenada’s capital St. George’s, known for its horseshoe-shaped harbor and colorful houses, is undoubtedly the most vibrant and picturesque.
St. George’s is also home to many of Grenada’s top hotels, including The Point at Petite Calivigny, a boutique wellness resort, which opened in late 2020, and Silversands Grenada, where visitors will find the longest infinity pool in the Caribbean.
The island has around 45 beaches, but Grand Anse is its most popular for good reason. Spanning three kilometers, this stunning stretch of white sand frequented by both visitors and locals offers tranquil waters, fantastic views and a wonderfully serene atmosphere. — Tamara Hardingham-Gill

Hawaii

Hawaii is home to truly extraordinary beaches — and a whole lot more.
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Hawaii is underrated. This in spite of its unceasing popularity among travelers.
To be sure, it is a gorgeous place, with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and every beach seemingly prettier than the next, but its beauty goes much deeper than its preternatural appearance.
Extraordinary beaches — some even boast black and green sand (Papakōlea Beach and Punaluʻu Beach, respectively) — have their expected appeal, but visitors who take time to venture out and away from the coast quickly discover Hawaii’s charms are in every nook and cranny.
On the island of Hawaii, a must-see is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where a spectacular new eruption of Kilauea has recently drawn visitors. As is a visit to Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai, which may turn even the most reluctant hikers into avid ones.
On Maui, after a few blissful days lounging at one of Wailea’s top resorts (Hotel Wailea for adults and Four Seasons for the whole family), take the road to Hana, an epic, winding adventure where half the joy is stopping along the way — to get the perfect shot or the most delicious tropical juice.
No matter which island you choose, which beachfront accommodation or which adventure, the key is slowing down and inviting the Aloha vibes to take over. — Stacey Lastoe

Italy

Perennially popular Italy hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in March 2020, when it became the global epicenter of the pandemic — and after controlling infection rates better than most European countries over the summer, its aging population has been hit hard again by the second wave.
But nothing can dim Italy’s attraction, and as restrictions ease, this will be a time to see it at its best. Pre-pandemic, Italy’s art cities were notorious epicenters of overtourism.
But with visitor numbers not expected to return to 2019 levels for several years, for those who can make it safely, 2021 will afford the chance to see the Bel Paese in a way that hasn’t been possible for decades.
What’s more, the best known cities are trying to change tourism for the better. Having seen many of the tatty souvenir shops close in the pandemic, Venice, for instance, is focusing on promoting the city’s traditional artisans, in a bid to readjust the tourism economy before the crowds come back.
Meanwhile, Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera — one of Italy’s showstopper (and queue-heavy) art galleries — has vowed to keep entrance by pre-booking only, in order to give visitors more space, while Da Vinci masterwork “The Last Supper” is considering more same-day tickets to favor individuals rather than the big groups that usually book up slots months in advance.
Still social distancing? Italy has some of Europe’s loveliest rural towns, and its alberghi diffusi (scattered hotels) are perfect for the Covid era, putting you up in self-contained apartments dotted around villages. They’re sustainable, too, helping to support smaller places in need of tourism. — Julia Buckley

Japan

Japan is hoping to host the rescheduled Summer Olympics in 2021.
Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Though every tourism-dependent nation is certainly deserving of sympathy going into 2021, one can’t help but feel particularly moved by the plight of Japan.
This is a country that hustled hard to ready itself for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, only to have to cancel the event just as it was ready to showcase those efforts to the world.
Those postponed Olympic Games will kick off in Tokyo on July 23, 2021, giving travelers a chance to see some of the huge changes that have taken place, along with all the reasons we fell in love with the country in the first place. The food, the people, the culture … Japan has a way of embedding itself into your soul and we can’t wait to get back.
Major Tokyo additions include the Takanawa Gateway — the first new station built on the city’s key JR Yamanote train line since 1971. The area around busy Shibuya Station has also been revamped as part of a huge multi-layer makeover to cement it as the city’s entertainment, transport and business hub for decades to come. Other changes of note include wider free Wi-Fi coverage not just in Tokyo but in the entire country — including 108 Shinkansen “bullet train” stations.
Several new hotels opened this year as well, including the luxurious Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo and the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi.
But there’s plenty to see elsewhere, too — particularly for theme park fans. Our top pick? The new Super Nintendo World, which is due to open at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in February 2021. –– Karla Cripps

Maldives

White sand beaches? Check. World-class dining? Yep. Incredible swimming, sailing and scuba diving? Got those too. Throughout the pandemic, Maldives has also managed to keep its borders open more than most thanks to the built-in social distancing offered by its luxurious resorts.
If anybody needed additional incentive to cross Maldives off of their bucket list in 2021, a spate of hotel openings is keeping things interesting. On deck for 2021 openings are new resorts from Ritz-Carlton, Patina, Le Meridien, Capella and Radisson Blu.
Next year will also mark a world’s-first country-wide loyalty program: the Maldives Border Miles program will allow visitors to earn points based on how often they visit and how long they stay. After all, the only thing better than visiting is visiting twice. — Lilit Marcus

Mexico

Travel between the United States and Mexico never really stopped during the pandemic.
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
This US neighbor to the south was a respite for many in 2020, in spite of the closure of land borders between the US and Mexico and multiple surges in coronavirus cases.
Air travel into and out of Mexico never really stopped, owing to the country’s limited Covid-related travel requirements, plus its natural beauty, breathtaking coastlines and a wide swath of relatively under-touristed locations beyond hotspots like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.
While balancing physical and economic health has been an uneven juggling act the world over, the fact is Mexico and many other destinations are in dire need of tourism revenue.
Looking into fall 2021, which hopefully will be a much less complicated time to visit, Mexico City will be celebrating its quincentennial, commemorating its founding 500 years ago, with most festivities planned in September to coincide with Mexican Independence Day.
Later in the fall, Formula 1 racing fans can attend the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix on October 29-31 at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. — Brekke Fletcher

New Zealand

“Otherworldly” — a term often applied to New Zealand’s eye-popping, Hobbit-friendly landscapes — has taken on new meaning when it comes to this South Pacific jewel.
Unlike vast swaths of the rest of the world, many of life’s normal activities have resumed in New Zealand, thanks to one of the globe’s most successful pandemic responses
The island country of five million has all but stamped out coronavirus, logging just over two dozen Covid-19 deaths. While its borders are closed to most travelers at present, we expect a lot of pent-up demand from people in all corners of the world salivating over images of its boundless terrain and return to relative normalcy.
Who doesn’t need a bit of forest therapy in Waiheke right now? Or some star-gazing on Stewart Island? The world is still wide and wonderful and this country serves nature up on a heaping platter with rich ties to local Māori culture and history. — Marnie Hunter

New York City

It’s a good time to explore New York’s fascinating neighborhoods on foot.
C. Taylor Crothers/Getty Images
Start spreading the news, reports of New York City’s “demise” have been grossly exaggerated. While the city has no doubt been adversely affected (what place hasn’t?) over the last year, the city that never sleeps has high hopes for a better 2021.
A lot of New York’s best offerings remain accessible, despite the ongoing pandemic (two major closures still in effect as the new year dawns are Broadway and indoor dining). And while New York City is rarely referred to as an “outdoor wonderland,” the truth is the best way to experience the city is walking through its distinct neighborhoods, maybe even with a slice of pizza in hand.
One of the best views of lower Manhattan can be seen while strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge, and New York City’s waterfront and parks are always there for you to explore.
Some seminal cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, can be experienced with timed-ticketing — and without the usual crowds.
To add to the excitement, there are two highly anticipated luxury hotel openings.
Luxury brand Aman will make its New York debut in the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, with 83 rooms, a 65-foot swimming pool, Japanese and Italian restaurants, cigar bar and rooftop terrace with views of Central Park, which is just a short stroll away.
All the way on the West Side, along the Hudson River near the High Line, the new Six Senses New York is slated to open inside The Xi — two new twisting towers designed by architect Bjarke Ingels. The brand’s first North American hotel boasts 136 rooms and suites and a spa spanning 45,000 square fee with a vibroacoustic meditation dome. — Brekke Fletcher

Singapore

Most travelers don’t want to spend any more time in an airport than they have to. But Singapore’s Changi is no ordinary airport.
While the rest of the world was hunkering down at home, Singaporean locals were paying to hang out at Changi, whether it was co-working in one of the lounges or glamping alongside the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at the Changi Jewel, which opened in 2019.
The coming year is a chance to fall back in love with travel, and a visit to the Lion City should rekindle that romance.
Beyond its spectacular airport, the city-state is home to a UNESCO-listed botanical garden, one-of-a-kind Peranakan culture, and some of the world’s most spectacular luxury hotels.
Its food scene is a major highlight — whether visitors opt for $5 Hainan chicken rice from a hawker stall or $500-per-plate Michelin-starred fine dining, nobody ever goes home hungry. — Lilit Marcus

Spain

Barcelona has taken time out to reevaluate its tourism offering.
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Spain, with its miles of picturesque sandy coastline and vibrant historic cities, has always been an unmissable travel destination.
Barcelona’s Las Ramblas may have been emptier than usual this year, while the party ground to a halt in the beach bars of the Balearic Islands, but Spain’s tourism hotspots are preparing to wow visitors once again.
Barcelona, like other European cities plagued in recent years by overtourism, has taken the time out to reevaluate how visitors can continue to enjoy the city without making it uninhabitable for locals.
The Balearics, meanwhile, are repositioning themselves with far more than iconic nightlife: secluded bays, a plethora of wildlife and sumptuous Mediterranean meals enjoyed al fresco will be the top attractions for visitors when they return.
Plus, by next summer, Spain’s fiestas — outdoor parties featuring fireworks, parades and celebration — might be back, and what better way to mark new beginnings than toasting 2021 under the Spanish sun? — Francesca Street

Thailand

For more than a century, Thailand has woven its spell on the masses with its glittering temples, fiery food, stunning beaches and mountainous landscapes.
All of that’s still there — plus a little more. The country has been heavily promoting domestic tourism in recent months, meaning there’s been no shortage of new hotel and restaurant openings — particularly in the capital, Bangkok.
The city’s historic riverside Charoenkrung area recently welcomed two new luxury hotels — Capella and the Four Seasons Bangkok — while nearby Yaowarat — aka Chinatown — continues to evolve with the addition of wonderfully eclectic bars and boutique hotels. One of our favorites is gallery/bar/restaurant Baan Rim Naam, which sits in a 200 year-old riverside warehouse in the Talad Noi neighborhood.
For those with their eye on Thailand’s south, the government is reportedly considering reopening Maya Bay, which has been closed since 2018 as part of a program aimed at reviving the area’s decimated corals.
Though not yet confirmed, the stunning cove made famous by “The Beach,” the 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, may welcome visitors in mid-2021, but with strict visitor caps. — Karla Cripps

United Kingdom

The UK has plenty of beautiful scenery, including the Lake District.
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
“Plague Island” isn’t likely to be top of anyone’s travel hot list, but let’s try to see past the unfortunate sobriquet applied to Great Britain by The New York Times after a new strain of virus led to many countries severing travel connections with the UK.
The first place in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine will hopefully, by the coming summer, have shaken off its notoriety. What should emerge is one of the world’s top tourism offerings, but very different.
The UK’s recent Brexit from the EU will see the country’s tourism sector happier than ever to see foreign visitors, particularly given that those arriving from Europe may face more bureaucracy than before to travel here.
Brexit, plus the financial impact of the pandemic, may mean many Brits choosing to staycation this year, although some may splurge on an overseas escape after months of enforced lockdown. But the good news for foreign visitors is that a widely expected slump in the pound should make the UK great value for money.
While the country may seem like a small collection of islands, it still offers wide open spaces for those still wary of crowds. There are the hills and waters of the picture-perfect Lake District, the dramatic coastline paths of Cornwall and Wales, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and even the pretty scenery at the end of London’s Underground lines. — Barry Neild

Uruguay

As neighbors Brazil and Argentina have struggled to contain the pandemic, laid-back little Uruguay has kept infection rates down — and as South America starts reopening for travel, that will serve it well.
Not that this is some kind of consolation prize; Uruguay has always had a huge amount to offer visitors, but as the continent’s second smallest country, it has often been dwarfed in the tourism stakes by its behemoth neighbors.
The current summer season (December-March) has effectively been canceled, with the government vowing to keep borders closed to stop infection rates rising. But once they reopen, there’s a huge amount to discover.
New to Uruguay this year? You’ll be blown away by its Atlantic coastline, with some of the most pristine beaches you’ll ever have seen — and a superb variety of accommodation, from beachside glamping to lagoon-floating cabinschi-chi country retreats and architecturally cutting edge bungalows, plonked in the middle of a vineyard.
Punta del Este is one of the Americas’ buzziest beach resorts, while Jose Ignacio, an hour up the coast, is a boho (but exclusive) resort. Carmelo, near the Argentinian border on the River Plate, is a laid-back weekend destination for Argentinians. It’s known for its wine — and the once-quiet Uruguayan wine scene is going from strength to strength.
Much of the buzz is around Jose Ignacio and Garzón, just inland, which is seeing a crop of vineyards opening up, like Bodega Garzón — owned by billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni — Bodega Oceánica José Ignacio, plus Viña Edén and Sacromonte, both in nearby Pueblo Edén (tour the vineyards or try their wares at Solera, Jose Ignacio’s superb wine bar).
New for 2021 will be Costa Garzón, linked to the Bodega — a new coastal development with a restaurant by celeb chef Francis Mallmann, beach club, hotel and private lots — and pretty hotel Posada Ayana, which, in November, will unveil a Skyspace by James Turrell — the renowned artist’s first freestanding work in South America. — Julia Buckley
Keep an eye on our individual destination guides for updated information on openings, travel rules and more.
An earlier version of this story misidentified the capital of the UAE.
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GIPC, GTA and GUBA organise ‘A Taste Of Ghana: Rock Your African Print’ to showcase rich Ghanaian culture

Posted By : Collins/ 1251

Accra, December 23, 2020

As an endeavour to showcase the rich Ghanaian culture and promote local businesses, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), and GUBA is organising ‘A Taste of Ghana: Rock Your African Print’, on the 28th of December 2020, at the Accra Polo Club.

 

A Taste of Ghana is a unique event that aims to project the beauty of Ghanaian culture and heritage. Bringing together Ghanaians and the African Diaspora, the event will primarily foster an informal networking session for all attendees, and to also encourage the support and patronage of Made in Ghana products.

 

The array of activities for the days’ event will include live music sessions, fashion shows and performances, while vendors will also be on site showcasing various authentic and delicious Ghanaian dishes, local drinks, art, and fashion items.

 

Touching on the significance of the event, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr Yofi Grant said “Ghana has always been recognised as a country with rich cultural heritage and gained even more traction following the recent year of return initiative which welcomed lots of our people within the diaspora. I therefore look forward to this event creating avenues to harness opportunities between indigenes and diasporas for the benefit of the nation “.

 

Buttressing the comments of Mr Grant, the CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Akwasi Agyeman added that “beyond the fun and rich cultural experience, I believe we can leverage such events to continuously promote tourism in Ghana and create business opportunities for Ghanaians”.

 

Keeping with the celebration of Ghanaian culture, and the obvious title of the event, patrons are encouraged to come “Rocking an African Print.

 

The event is scheduled for 2pm to 10pm and patrons can look forward to an interesting time with friend and family while experiencing and capturing the sights, feels, sounds and tastes of Ghana.

 

A Taste of Ghana is a Beyond the Return Initiative, sponsored by Absa Bank Ghana,  Ghana Export Promotion Authority and Ghana EXIM bank. It is also partnered by The BridgeZone and powered by E-volution.

 

 

 

For enquiries, tickets, and information, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/133744464293

About Grow, Unite, Build, Africa

GUBA Enterprise is a social enterprise organisation dedicated to the advancement of diaspora Africans and Africans back home through various socio – economic programs and initiatives.

The organisation has various brand activities namely: GUBA Awards, GUBA Foundation, GUBA Trade Expo, GUBA Careers, GUBA Diaspora Card, GUBA Tours and Rock Your African Print.

Contact: Claudia Andrews

Email: claudia@gubaawards.co.uk

 

About Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is a Government agency, responsible to encourage and promote investments in Ghana, to provide for the creation of an attractive incentive framework and a transparent, predictable, and facilitating environment for investments in Ghana.

 

About Ghana Tourism Authority

The Ghana Tourism Authority is the public service agency in charge of regulating tourism in Ghana through marketing and promotion, licensing and classification of tourism facilities and services, research, and development.

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‘Travel, Snap And Win Campaign’ Launched To Promote Domestic Tourism

Posted By : Collins/ 1431

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has on Monday, December 21, 2020, launched a social media travel and win campaign to reward deserving Ghanaian tourists during this Christmas festivities.

As part of the Authority’s mandate to drive the agenda of tourism and enhance the active participation of locals in the tourism and hospitality industries, the GTA has initiated a 6 weeks’ campaign christened ‘The Snap Tour’ campaign.
The campaign scheduled for 21st December 2020 to 31st January 2021 is to reward Ghanaian indigenes who make efforts to travel to local tourist destinations of their choice within the Campaign timeframe.

 

The Snap Tour Campaign is aimed at rediscovering Ghanaian tourist sites and further rekindling the dying fire of Domestic Tourism due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

To be part of the set of lucky winners for the Snap Tour social media campaign, participants must visit any local tourist sites of their choice, take photos and share on their various social media platforms alongside the campaign’s hashtags.

The full rules for participation are found below:

HOW TO JOIN

All Ghanaians above the age of 18 are eligible to participate in this contest. To participate, kindly follow the rules below:

Step 1: Travel to your favorite tourist location from 21st December 2020 to 31st January 2021.
Step 2: Take a photo of yourself at your chosen tourist location. Photos taken prior to the campaign dates shall be nullified. Filters will be used to screen photos.
Step 3: Explore your creativity. Post your best photo with an amazing caption on all social media handles.
Step 4: Tag our social media handles in your post and use the hashtag #Snaptour. Social media channels in focus are:
Facebook – Ghana Tourism Authority (@ghanatourismauthority)
Twitter – ghanatourismGTA (@ghanatourismGTA)
Instagram – Ghana Tourism Authority (@ghanatourismauthority)

SELECTION OF WINNERS

Weekly winners

3 Winners shall be selected at the end of every week. These winners shall be determined based on their overall engagements (shares, comments and likes) on the photos they submitted in the contest. They shall also be judged based on best caption and best photo.
Final Winners: 3 Winners shall be selected at the end of the campaign. These winners shall be determined based on their overall engagements (shares, comments and likes) on the photos they submitted in the contest. They shall also be judged based on best caption and best photo.

PRIZES

Weekly winners
CATEGORIES
PRIZES
TEAVEL SEE SNAP & WIN
Return Airline Ticket (Domestic)

PICK TRAVEL
Ghana Made Goodies worth GHS400

#IREP MY REGION
Ghana made goodies worth GHS400

FINAL WINNERS
CATEGORIES
PRIZES

TRAVEL, SEE, SNAP & WIN
A Weekend Stay for 2 @ 5 star Hotel  + Return Ticket+ Ghana Made Goodies

PICK TRAVEL
Return Airline Ticket (Domestic)

#IREP MY REGION
Return Airline Ticket (Domestic)

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GFA, GTA & PFAG Collaborate On ‘Visit Ghana, Bring Back The Love Football Tour’

Posted By : Collins/ 733

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has launched the Visit Ghana Football Tour at the Accra Tourist Information Centre (ATIC) on Friday, October 2, 2020.

The campaign dubbed BEYOND THE RETURN, FOOTBALL RETURNS is aimed at igniting the passion for football in both local and diasporan communities, whilst promoting Ghana as a tourist destination.

The campaign tour will officially kick- start at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium with the “Battle of the Stars” football match as a way of promoting domestic football and domestic tourism.

The Deputy CEO of Operations, GTA, Mr. Ekow Sampson who spoke on behalf of the Chief Executive, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, stated that, ” football is such an important sporting event that draws attention to itself, and this is the main reason for many investors including tourism are interested in football. Football vitalizes the tourism sector and increases patronage of hotels, restaurants, transportation, nightclubs, visit to tourist sites and all other tourism sectors which in return generates revenue and redistributes income.

The President of the Ghana Football Association, Mr. Kurt Okraku said football promotes tourism, and tourism promotes football.
He also revealed that the launch is going to kickstart the activities that would lead to the reopening of the 2020/2021 football season.

Dignitaries present at the ceremony include; the President of the Ghana Football Association Mr. Kurt Edwin Okraku, Member of the Black Stars Committee: Alhaji Abu Alhasan Jones, Deputy CEO Operations, GTA: Mr. Ekow Sampson.

The General Secretary of the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana, Mr. Solomon Thompson, The Deputý General Secretary of Confederation of African Football, CAF, Mr. Anthony Baffour, General Secretary, GFA, Prosper Harrison Addo, and the Deputy General Secretary, GFA, Mr Alex Asante.

Other officials include; Former Black Star Player: Yusif Chibsah, the Manager for Product Development and Investment(GTA): Mr. Ben Anane-Nsiah, Manager for Research Monitoring and evaluation(GTA): Mr. Spencer Doku, Manager for Operations(GTA): Mr. Michael Kpingbi, Manager for Corporate Affairs (GTA): Rev. Jones Aruna Nelson, Director of Communications, GFA: Henry Asante Twum and Representatives of Decathlon, Ghana.

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Akufo-Addo implores further support for “Beyond the Return”

Posted By : visitghadmin/ 428

President Akufo-Addo wants Ghanaians to extend their supportive attitude portrayed towards the “Year of Return”, to this year’s “Beyond the Return” initiative.

President Akufo-Addo believes it was due to such an attitude that the year of return was a success and he wants to see same for Beyond the Return.

A statement from the Presidency indicated that, “the welcoming attitude and the warm Ghanaian hospitality proved to be the strongest attention to hundreds of thousands of our ‘kith and kin’ from the African diaspora, who thronged our shores to commemorate the year of return.

“I urge all Ghanaians to demonstrate this same level of excitement and commitment that characterised the “Year of Return,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo initiated the Year of Return to invite all diasporans back home to not only learn more but explore and even invest in the country.

Since this initiative began many African-Americans have made their way into the country to learn more about their history. Some include Steve Harvey , Samuel L Jackson , Anthony Anderson, Micheal Jai White, Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker, Diggy Simmons and many others.

The President launched the now “Beyond the Return” initiative as a way to continue with and solidify relations between Africans and those in the diaspora.

He said the “Year of Return’, proved itself to be exciting, and afforded Ghanaians the chance to re-establish, intensify and solidify the relations between those of us on the continent and those in the diaspora.”

He further commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other institutions and persons who made The Year of Return possible for “their sense of professionalism and dedication to duty, which enabled them to preserve the peace and security of our country in the course of the celebration.”

The President also urged Ghanaians to take advantage of all opportunities that the initiative will present as this “will entail that we engage in mutually beneficial trade, investment and cultural co-operation with the Africa Diaspora.”

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Board inaugurated to manage Bunso Arboretum tourism

Posted By : Collins/ 1817

The Ghana Tourism Authority together with the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council has inaugurated a five-member management board to see to the affairs of the Bunso Arboretum tourism site located at Bunso in the Eastern Region.

They are expected to elevate the tourist site to a world-class eco-tourism destination.

The members are Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Daniel Ofori Attah, a representative of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, Dr Seth Appiah Kubi, Executive Director of A-Rocha Ghana, Kwame Boateng, a board member of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Albert Mensah of DCCL, the current managers of Bunso Arboretum.

 

The rest are Frederick Adjei-Rudolph the Eastern Regional Manager of GTA, Nana Twumasi a representative of Okyeman Environmental Foundation and a member each from the Forestry Commission and CSIR.

Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, the chief of the Akyem Abuakwa who inaugurated the board tasked them to make the tourist site one of the best in Africa.

“This new role is very difficult because you will be working to make Ghana a better country, people go onto boards and become very rich suddenly but this board is exceptional. This is an eco-friendly investment enterprise and if we manage it well it will become a treasure for Ghana which will end us great forex exchange.”

 

” Many well-to-do nations do not have natural resources and minerals but they have managed their tourist sites very well which has then become a major revenue generating point for them and I believe Bunso Arboretum has all the medicinal trees, plants and species and a calm environment to also become one of the best tourist attractions in the country and beyond so i urge you all to work very hard for us to achieve this dream”.

Speaking to Journalists after the inauguration, the Chief Executive Officer for the Ghana Tourism Authority Mr Akwasi Agyemang indicated the authority’s commitment to making Ghana a tourist destination.

 

“Ghana Tourism Authority is committed to making the country a tourist hub by harnessing every potential site so we have put together one of the finest architects and engineers to join the team which will be managing the affairs at Bunso Arboretum for us to get the best out of the place. This year we launched the Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, See Ghana campaign all in the name of promoting Ghana, our President recently stated when he visited Tamale that we should not wait for foreigners to come to our country to tell us to visit our sites before we do so”.

“We have put plans in place to ensure the Bunso Arboretum provides Job for the youth in the area and improve economic activities in the area. We will add a playing ground to the site, hotels and resting places to facelift the site and work to ensure Bunso Arboretum becomes one of the best tourist destinations in the country.”

Source: citinewsroom.com

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