December in Ghana has become a cultural phenomenon attracting thousands of visitors to the country to experience a diverse array of activities and festivals to celebrate the peak holiday season. The Ghana Tourism Authority and the Beyond the Return Secretariat announced 50 events have been endorsed so far for December 2022. The announcement was made at a stakeholders meeting at the Accra Tourism Information Centre.
CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Awkasi Agyeman, said that 83 proposals were received from event organizers and so far, 50 have been endorsed by the Beyond the Return Secretariat. “All of the 50 endorsed events have been formally informed and currently we are finalizing the process for publication. We are also still receiving event proposals and we welcome any event idea or initiative, even though we have shut the door for proposals,” Mr. Agyeman said.
The month of December is the busiest time of year in Ghana with an increased number of visitors and a tremendous number of events that take place across the country. It was noted that the events that were not endorsed by GTA and BTR would likely still happen, but without the official stamp of endorsement from their offices. There are several events that will take place that are not official events and supported by other organizations.
Since the December in GH events calendar was introduced in 2019, during the Year of Return, it has become a core part of the tourism industry and the Beyond the Return initiative. The call for proposals began in July and all received were submitted to the steering committee and sub-committee for formal review before approvals were made. When selecting events to be endorsed they looked at the preparedness of event organizers and if their event aligned with any of the seven pillars of Beyond the Return. Those pillars are Experience Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Brand Ghana, Diaspora Pathways to Ghana, Promote Pan African Heritage and Innovation, and Give Back Ghana.
Accra has been the core location for many events over the years and Agyeman stated that the committee worked towards ensuring there were events in other parts of the country based on feedback from previous years. They are working towards having a booth at the airport to welcome visitor and allow people to scan a ‘Beyond the Return’ bar code where they could have a list of events, venues and prices. This is currently being worked on.
Agyeman said they are working with some tour operators to have charter flights due to commercial airlines being almost fully booked during the peak season. “There are talks and we have licensed a few operators who want to bring charter flights and if this is achieved it would help drive people to the destination,” he said. “As a collective body, we would be able to put our best foot forward to work to promote Ghana and make sure that people who come in become ambassadors for the country.”
By: Ivy Prosper