Now, more than ever, there are Black and Africa focused travel groups like Tastemakers Africa, Travel Noir, Up In The Air Life and so many others springing up everywhere with hashtags abound like #BlackWomenTravel #BlackMenTravel #BlackWanderlust #TravelNoire #SoulTravel and so many more. There has also been a returnee influx to Africa of young first and second generation American and Europeans born to African immigrant parents abroad, those born in Africa who lived for many years abroad for education and work, along with a global Black exodus to Africa dubbed “Blaxit” of mostly African-Americans and other Diasporans looking to find their roots, a new life and opportunity in Africa with nations like Ghana recently granting long time residents citizenship.
These expats and repats like myself, have created a new niche market in the travel, tourism and leisure industry with a desire to travel within the continent of Africa; yet there is a lack of access to daily flights and inexpensive means to do so. While the Jet Blues and Easy Jet type of budget airlines exists for American and European travelers to easily and inexpensively get around within those continents Africa has yet to spring up its own to serve intra-Africa travelers. Far too often, it is easier and cheaper to travel to South Africa, Senegal or Nigeria from New York or Washington DC than it is to travel from Ghana to those same countries that are on the same continent and neighbors. The affordability and access for young wanderlusters and the average coach traveler to travel within Africa is almost non-existent because of the high cost and overwhelming routes that have you stopping off in 2-3 different cities or countries to get to your destination, when if African nations had properly developed roads and infrastructure, one could basically drive from Senegal to Ghana easier than to fly.
With African nations like Ghana inviting the Diaspora to come to Ghana to visit, live and help to develop the nation, it will be a shame for African leaders, the travel, tourism and aviation industry, along with the African Union to not make Intra-Africa travel a priority in investment and development efforts. This is a multi-million to billion dollar industry waiting to be served properly; yet continues to be neglected.
There are a few entrepreneurs like myself looking to make intra-Africa travel more accessible and less expensive through lobbying, media and technology. This past Saturday, with the introduction of the new issue of Suitcase Magazine‘s Ghana travel cover story, many of us gathered at Architect Joe Addo’s ,Jamestown Cafe for his weekly live radio show where creatives and community alike in Ghana gather to engage with the every day through discussions on issues concerning the creative industry as well as the community at large, in an open atmosphere where patrons of the cafe can join in the discussion of the day. Inno-Native Tourism was the focus because not only are Ghanaians and other Africans not traveling within their countries to boost tourism, they are also not traveling within country to country because the travel, tourism and leisure sector has pretty much ignored this close to a billion niche market of would be travelers for far too long.
This is what an authentic Ghanaian community experience looks like. It felt like being back in #MyNYC#HarlemWorld with our Boricuas representing loud and proud and people from all over the world and the local community communing and speaking about travel and tourism and what brought them to Ghana.
A Liberian who studied in Puerto Rico and now lives and works in Ghana invited his long time friend and his family to have their first experience inAfrica. While others came from other parts of the US and the world as new expats through marriage, work and #Blaxit. Ghana is truly the gateway to Africa and #BrandingGhana starts with authentically giving Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians a true Ghanaian experience that showcases all of the greatness we have to offer locally in our global connectivity that is not the Ghanaian version of an American or European experience. With a new focus on #PanAfricanism it is more important than ever to focus on intra-Africa travel and tourism with Ghana as the gateway in reconnecting our trans-Atlantic community to our common experience in culture and cuisine that has contributed to creating world culture. Why aren’t we having a Plantain Festival in Ghana with the plethora of ways we use this one food that has traveled and is eaten world-wide, mixed with our culture, music , art and dance in a celebration that can compete with global festivals in inviting revelers from all over the world, while being authentically African.
I love seeing so many of our people from all over the world making #OurBlackStarNation their destination of choice for business, travel and leisure! We have a hugely neglected market of Africans and African descendants at home and abroad who want and need an easier and less expensive way to travel throughout Africa. I still dream of an African railway system that easily transports us from country to country through our beautiful countrysides in the same way that I have been able to easily travel throughout Europe along with budget airlines that cater to intra-Africa travel!
Whether we are in America, Europe, Asia or the Caribbean our culture and cuisine has carried us in maintaining our global and local connection. This is what #OurGlobalFusion is all about! #Akwabaa#TravelGhana