The number of tourists who visited the Elmina and Cape Coast castles increased significantly in 2019, mainly due to the “Year of Return” initiative by the Government.
The two castles recorded an overwhelming total of 157,668 visitors as against the 139,592 recorded in 2018, a difference of 18,076, indicating a rise in patronage.
The Cape Coast Castle alone saw 88,124 visitors in 2019 as against 74,988 in 2018, while the Elmina Castle recorded 69,544 and 64,604 respectively in 2019 and 2018.
These were contained in a document detailing visitor’s statistics for the two castles signed by Ms Martha Krah, the Senior Assistant Administrative Secretary of the Ghana Museums and Monument Board (GMMB), and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Cape Coast.
Foreign tourists rose from 35,088 in 2018 to 43,390 in 2019, representing an increase of over 8,000.
Domestic tourists visitation continue to record high numbers, which went up from 104,777 in 2018 to in 2019 in 113,406, representing 8,630 increase.
Mr Clifford Eshun, the Regional Director of the GMMB, in an interview with the GNA, expressed satisfaction with the high patronage adding that a chunk of the visitors came in December.
He said the number of patronage indicated a good sign for tourism adding that many of the foreign tourists were African Americans with some coming from French speaking countries including Ivory Coast and Mali.
In March and September last year, 1,405 and 2,608 tertiary students toured the Cape Coast and Elmina castles, respectively, and this was the highest number recorded during the year.
Again, a total of 143 Persons with Disability (PWDs) toured the Cape Coast Castle but surprisingly, no PWD visitation was recorded at the Elmina Castle.
Mr Eshun encouraged all to have the interest of visiting the castles to be enlightened about how slave trade was carried out in the colonial days.