He noted that promoting such events prior to the Christmas festivities does not only attract domestic attention but international audience who make earnest preparations for them.
Last year, a number of events were cancelled, notably among them were Wildaland which was slated for December 26 and December 27. It was called off few days to the show with organisers citing reasons beyond their control.
Also, TribaVERSE Music, Arts and Culture Festival scheduled for Sunday, January 1, 2023 was called off.
Mr Kusi told the Graphic Showbiz that even though the authority and other stakeholders acknowledged the challenges of event organisers, cancelling such events which, earn lots of international audience, was not good for the positive makeup of the celebration.
“Before I say anything, let me first acknowledge and commend event organisers for holding December in GH down and making it a success with their events. Trust me, without them, we cannot talk about the project’s achievement but as usual, there are always challenges with such a huge initiative.
“Going forward, the Ghana Tourism Authority will be taking measures by engaging event organisers to appreciate that when these events are advertised, they become an international event in nature and not only domestic.
“For instance, international tourists, travellers, diasporas and people of African descent have already done their preparations and look forward to these events so what the Tourism Authority will be doing is to engage the vendors.
“However, everyone bears witness to the fact since this project started in 2019, it was only last year that some events were cancelled. In previous years, we didn’t have such issues.
“As such, every situation is a test case for us to sit back and then engage the event organisers and jaw jaw to see how best we can be able to forestall such future occurrences,” he said.
Mr Kusi also pointed out that under the leadership of the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal and the CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the various stakeholders were committed to making the Beyond the Year of Return a successful project which aims to turn Ghana’s domestic fortunes around.
“Look at the number of people who trooped to Afrochella, Afro Nation and the various events which took place last December. This is huge for the tourism industry and it behoves us to make Ghana the preferred tourism agenda and destination.
“The diasporas also come down to learn about Ghana’s traditions, culture and heritage, while connecting with their ancestral roots. We are also grateful to the media for trumpeting Beyond the Year of Return and its attendant December in GH.
“Let us continue to work together to see the realisation of tourism as the number one foreign exchange earner since I’m confident we can use tourism to change a lot of things,” he said.
Although he couldn’t say the exact figure, Mr Kusi said last December, Ghana received a record-breaking number of travellers from the diaspora who were entertained with featured concerts, fashion shows, traditional festivals among many other events.