In 2015 tourism and travel directly contributed a total of around GHC4.5 million (more than US $1 million) to Ghana’s GDP. This amounts to about 3.3% of national GDP.
They were initially used for trading gold and other commodities. After Ghana became enmeshed in the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1650 they were used as spaces to buy, torture and hold captured people before shipping them away from Africa.
Over the past three decades these landmark monuments have taken on another role. Ghana has developed a significant heritage tourism industry and the monuments have become tourist attractions. They particularly draw people of the original historic African diaspora.
The descendants of Africans who were captured and enslaved in the western Atlantic World return to the continent – and to the monuments – for a number of reasons. For many, it is a way to reconnect with their ancestry and find a sense of belonging in the African world. The memory of Africa can also be a source of strength, pride and identity.