Barbados has been praised for its We Plantin’ More than a Million National Tree Planting Project, which is a We Gatherin’ 2020 initiative.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman, said that he was so impressed with the project, which is designed to combat climate change, that he is hoping a similar activity could be replicated in Ghana.
Mr. Agyeman, who is leading a delegation from the GTA on island, spoke to the media during a tree planting exercise at the National Botanical Garden today.
The delegation is currently on a cultural exchange with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), which will allow the Ghanaian team to share expertise on their Year of Return.
The Year of Return 2019 was a homecoming, which encouraged African descendants around the world to visit Ghana or invest in the country. The sequel event is called Beyond the Return.
Mr. Agyeman recalled that 50 trees were planted on a cocoa eco-farm as part of the Miss Heritage Global pageant, a Year of the Return activity. “It was not the scale of what you are going to do here with the We Gatherin’,” he pointed out.
The Ghanaian CEO added: “We had several community initiatives and services that were built into the Year of Return, but this one is quite unique. The tree planting is a very strong legacy that in years to come, when we remember the We Gatherin’ 2020, we can always look back and say this tree was planted during that time.
“…It is quite good and also an environmentally positive thing to do. It is a lesson we are taking back, as we carry on with Beyond the Return, we also want to incorporate it in our planning…. Coming here, seeing what you are doing as a small country, but with big dreams and big ideas, is something we are taking back and we believe we can open the channel of communication between the people of Ghana and the Bajan people.”
Head of Global Markets of the BTMI, Petra Roach, said Barbados was looking to established closer and direct links from Accra, Ghana, to Bridgetown, Barbados.
She said the move was key to diversifying the island’s tourist markets by moving away from depending solely on the traditional source markets of United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
She said it was the first time that the BTMI was working with another tourist office to stimulate travel from both areas.
“We had a long shared history, one which was thrust upon us. We are really at a moment in time in history which we can help define, which we can create the narrative for…. We are helping each other with best practices about the development,” she said.
Mr. Agyeman, along with Senior Project Officer at the GTA, Ernest Odame; Manager of Product Development and Investment of the GTA, Benjamin Anane Nsiah; and Manager of the Year of Return, Annabelle Renee McKenzie, planted gooseberry, mango, tamarind and Bajan cherry trees at the island’s National Botanical Garden, Codrington, St. Michael.