Destination Spotlight: Ghana Beyond the Return

Africa’s tourism is the second fastest growing industry in the world after the Asia Pacific. Per the World Travel and Tourism Council research shows that in 2018:

  1. Travel & Tourism contributed $194.2 billion to the region’s economy, representing 8.5% of the continent’s GDP

  2. The sector contributed 24.3 million African jobs, or 6.7% of total employment

  3. 71% of tourism spending across Africa was leisure-driven and 29% business

  4. Domestic spending accounted for 56% of the tourism economy versus 44% for international

  5. International tourism spending comprised 9.6% of the region’s total exports, worth $58.5bn

The statistics above is important to highlight as tourism continues to pick up momentum in Africa. Notably, Ethiopia has been found to be the fastest growing travel economy, growing by 48.6% last year to be worth $7.4bn due to Ethiopia’s improved connectivity as a regional transport hub and due to recent visa relaxation policies. However, it is Ghana who made waves last year with the Year of the Return campaign.

While in Washington, D.C. in September 2018, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo formally declared 2019 as the Year of Return for all African Americans and Africans in the diaspora marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved African to Jamestown, VA in 1619. The objective of this declaration is to:

  1. To make Ghana a key travel destination for African Americans and the rest of the African diaspora.

  2. To rebuild the lost past of these 400 years.

  3. To promote investment in Ghana and foster relationships with African Americans and the African diaspora.

With great attention worldwide through various channels as celebrity endorsement and influence, successful marketing and branding campaigns through social media outlets and event promoters; 2019 proved to be successful for the Year of Return. It was estimated that over 750,000 visas were issued to visit Ghana in 2019 compared to the ~80,000 issued in 2018. While the revenue generated from the initiative is to be confirmed, one cannot deny that a light has shined on Ghana as a safe and growing travel destination. So why travel to Ghana?

Ghana, also called the “Gold Coast” for its gold reserves, is known for being peaceful with one of the longest stable democracies and a healthy economy in Africa. Additionally, you can learn about the rich history and culture of Ghana through landmarks including the Cape Coast Castle, museums, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial and various festivals. Ghana is also known for its traditional music with drumming and dance as a key element to its culture, and most recently the sounds of afrobeats influence many global sounds. Ghana also brings great food, beaches, and national parks. If you are interested in visiting Ghana, below please find a list of favorite places to visit in the capital Accra along with a packing list that will keep you returning back to Ghana.

Places to Visit

  1. Independence Square

  2. Cape Coast and Elmina Castle

  3. Kwame Nkrumah Masoleum

  4. W.E.B. Du Bois Center

  5. Gallery 1957

  6. Aburi Gardens

  7. Kankum National Park

  8. Jamestown Lighthouse

  9. Mhoseenu Design Studio

  10. Labadi Beach

  11. Bojo Beach

  12. Accra Mall

Restaurants/Bar and Lounge

  1. Buka Restaurant

  2. Azmera Restaurant

  3. Coco Lounge

  4. Polo Club Restaurant and Lounge

  5. Soho Restaurant

  6. Afrikiko Leisure Center

  7. Urban Grill

  8. Big Fish

  9. Vine Lounge

  10. Midunu (Private Dining)

  11. Pitch Lounge

  12. Lunar Rooftop

  13. Skybar 25

Events and Festivals

  1. Afrochella

  2. Detty Rave

  3. AfroNation

  4. T.I.N.A Festival

Brands to Shop in Ghana

  1. Aaks Bags

  2. Skin Gourmet

  3. Bello Edu

  4. Studio 189

  5. Origin Culture

  6. Hamamat

  7. Christie Brown

  8. Emma Bird Accessories

  9. Beedagel Boutique

  10. Pistis

  11. Diva Delicious

  12. Atto Tetteh

  13. Charlotte Prive

  14. Kiki Clothing

  15. Yevu Clothing

  16. Vlisco

  17. Viva Boutique


  1. Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City

  2. Movenpick Ambassador Hotel Ghana

  3. Villa Monticello

  4. Royal Senchi Hotel

  5. Africa Regent Hotel

  6. Labadi Beach Hotel

  7. Coconut Grove Hotels

  8. Holiday Inn Accra Aiport

  9. Golden Tulip Hotel

Packing List (Including Travel Requirements)

In Ghana, the climate is tropical, with a dry season in winter and a rainy season in summer due to the African monsoon. Therefore it is important to pack and dress accordingly.

Important Documents:

  • PassportVisa (to be obtained in advance for non-ciitizens)

  • Documentation of yellow fever vaccination on yellow card

  • Review the CDC for additional vaccination requirements

Clothing/Footwear Recommendations

  • Pants, jeans, or capris

  • Skirts (for ladies)

  • Sleepwear

  • T-shirts/tank tops

  • Long-sleeved shirt

  • Eveningwear should you go to an event

  • Swimsuit

  • Hat

  • Belt (if needed)

  • Comfortable Walking Shoes

  • Sandals

  • Flip flops

Toiletries (check if some items will be provided at your Lodging Location)

  • Shampoo&Conditioner

  • Soap/BodyWash

  • Facewash

  • Sunscreen

  • ShavingSupplies

  • Brush/Comb

  • Deodorant

  • Hairdryer

  • Contacts/Lens Solution and/orGlasses/Glasses Case

  • Insect Repellant

  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste/DentalFloss

  • Washcloths,Facecloths,orLoofahs

  • Lip Balm

  • Feminine hygiene products (ladies only)


  • Umbrella or rain jacket

  • Sunglasses (a cheap pair will do)

  • Medications

  • Luggage lock

  • Money belt (optional)

  • Purse, Cross-body or drawstring bag

  • Converters and adaptors

  • Camera Chargers

  • Phone

  • Cash

  • Ear buds/Headphones