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Roots tourism and the Year of Return campaign in Ghana : Moving belonging beyond the history of slavery

Title data

Gebauer, Matthias ; Umscheid, Marie:
Roots tourism and the Year of Return campaign in Ghana : Moving belonging beyond the history of slavery.
In: Saarinen, Jarkko ; Rogerson, Jayne M. (ed.): Tourism, Change and the Global South. - London ; New York : Routledge , 2021 . - pp. 123-134 . - (Contemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility )
ISBN 978-0-367-54953-4

Abstract in another language

Roots tourism from the United States to African countries is a field within which aspects of tourism, diasporic belonging and migration back to Africa intersect. Destinations such as Ghana invest heavily in campaigns such as the 2019 Year of Return in order to access the African American diaspora market. Since its beginnings in the early 20th century, roots tourism became a significant economic factor for African destinations and involved companies alike. The overall success of this particular variation of diaspora tourism is without a doubt based on the constant and growing interest among African Americans to engage with one’s own historical links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The wish to overcome this – as Paul Gilroy terms it – shared history of suffering and the longing for reconnecting to the (imagined) motherland Africa became the pillars of success for roots tourism. But this also led to a situation where the destinations got locked in a mode of making a narrative of home accessible to touristic consumption based on the marketing of the cruelty of slavery. Ghana’s 2019 Year of Return indicates an important change in this regard. The central strategies and narratives of the campaign point to a shift away from such highly politicised images of heritage and belonging towards a more event-oriented performance of cosmopolitan Africanness. This could become a crucial factor for the continuation of the success story of roots tourism across the Atlantic.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a book
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Roots Tourism; Ghana; USA; Year of Return; Heritage Tourism; Diaspora Tourism
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Social and Population Geography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Social and Population Geography > Chair Social and Population Geography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Eberhard Rothfuß
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
900 History and geography > 910 Geography, travel
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 08:39
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 08:39
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/65175