THE Ministry of Tourism says this year’s Emancipation Day celebration which begins in Accra on Wednesday is another opportunity for the country to take advantage of the recent success of the Black Stars at the 2010 World Cup to market Ghana’s tourism potential to international investors and tourists.

Highlighting activities to mark this year’s event, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Kobby Acheampong, said the ministry had, in collaboration with the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), put up a comprehensive advertising package on Euro Sports, a channel on DSTV, and a website on the country’s tourism sites, targeting the European market.

This year’s celebration, which marks the 12th Emancipation Day in the country, runs from July 21 to August 1, 2010.

The Emancipation Day celebration originated from the Caribbean on August 1, 1834 and has been on Ghana’s tourism calendar since 1998 when it became the first African nation to join in the celebration to re-affirm its status as the gateway to the homeland of Africans in the Diaspora.

Programmes lined up to celebrate this year’s event, which is on the theme, “Emancipation, Our Heritage, Our Strength: Rejuvenating the Dreams and Aspirations of the African Youth”, include a wreath-laying ceremony on July 21 to honour illustrious Pan-Africanists Dr William E. B. Du Bois, George Padmore and Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, an international tourism investment forum at the International Conference Centre on July 26 and a concert in Cape Coast on July 30.

The month-long programme, which will also witness the re-enactment of the crossing of the River Pra at Assin Praso where captured slaves went through the point of ‘no return’, will be climaxed by a grand durbar of the chiefs and people of Assin Manso on August 1, 2010.

Touching on the celebrations, Mr Acheampong stated that it would help Ghanaians know how to turn the tragedy their ancestors went through during "their journey of no return" into something more positive for the country, Africa and the Diaspora.

He said feedback from the website indicated that there were better days ahead for the tourism sector.

He said the addition of the investment forum to the itinerary of the celebrations was to help create the needed environment for potential investors in the sector to have first-hand information on the various tourism sites in the country.

The Executive Director of the GTB, Mr Julius Debrah, said this year’s celebrations would focus on the achievement of the Black Stars in the just-ended World Cup.

“The Black Stars did all of us proud and the Emancipation Day provides the opportunity for the African continent and our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to celebrate their achievement,” he added.

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