U.S. president Barack Obama is being credited for the steady increase of tourists visiting Ghana’s Cape Coast. The West African country is home to the Cape Coast Castle, a prominent former slave trade fort. President Obama chose Ghana for his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, after being elected president in 2009. Accompanied by his wife and children, the trip was of great significant to Obama’s wife Michelle, who has traced her ancestry to slavery.
Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle is entrenched with rich history. Its dark dungeons hold the untold stories of many who were captured and kept there before being shipped off to become slaves in the New World. Those in pursuit of their roots and history and others who want to understand the history of slaves, have chosen to visit the historical castle.
Upon his visit to the Cape Coast Castle, Obama described it as “a moving moment” and declared that “there is a special sense that on one hand this place was a place of profound sadness, on the other hand it is where the journey of much of African-American experience began.”
Tourists from all over the world have been steadily visiting the African West Coast, in hopes of feeling that “moving moment” felt by Obama. One Australian tourist noted that the historic site was something he “wanted to see once” and deemed his experience to be “comforting.”
According to Ghana’s Tourism Minister, Kobby Akyeampong, “following President Obama’s visit we are seeing a consistent increase in international arrivals.” In addition to the historic richness the Western African Coast has to offer, Ghana’s position as being one of the most stable countries in the region, also adds to its appeal for visitors.
Ghana recently celebrated its 54th Independence Anniversary and its position as being the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence from colonial rule in 1957 also makes it all the more historically significant.
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