Daily Podcast: Ghana’s Celebrity Tourism Push

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Hello from Skift. It’s Tuesday, May 10 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

Rashaad Jordan

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses the complexities of Ghana’s latest tourism initiative, Miami’s international tourism boom and a surprise acquisition in traveler retention.

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Episode Notes

As the airline industry continues to recover from the pandemic, one U.S. airport in particular stands out as a gateway for foreign visitors — Miami International Airport, reports contributor Ted Reed.

Miami welcomed just over 13 million international travelers last year, ranking first in the United States and 11th in the world, according to figures released this month by Airports Council International. Reed writes that the city has benefited significantly from its proximity to short-haul destinations in the Caribbean and from being a key hub for South America, one of the fastest recovering regions in the world. Arrival numbers were also boosted by carriers such as American Airlines and Spirit Airlines increasing or launching service to the airport. The city welcomed a total of around 37 million air passengers in 2021, a figure that doubled compared to 2020.

Additionally, Miami was the busiest cargo airport in the United States as well as the ninth busiest in the world last year. The airport handled 2.7 million tonnes of cargo in 2021, surpassing the record it set the previous year by 17%.

Next, Ghana uses African-American celebrities to promote itself as a tourist destination in its Beyond the Return campaign. But Lebawit editor Lily Girma writes that using these prominent figures to boost tourism has become problematic over fears the campaign is causing further inequality and tension in the country.

The Ghanaian government launched its Beyond Return initiative in December 2020 after its huge campaign success for the previous year. The ongoing initiative is part of its strategy to attract visitors from the lucrative African-American market. But Ghanaian tourism executives have expressed uncertainty over, among other things, whether the campaign will improve the lives of members of host communities, with Girma writing that non-Ghanaians have been blamed for driving up the price. cost of living in Accra.

Kwame Gasu, co-founder of advertising and digital marketing startup Detalon Africa, believes Ghana’s use of African-American celebrities to promote the country is a formidable strategy. However, Gasu argues that tourism revenue should be reinvested to improve the country’s main attractions. He cited the Kwame Nkrumah Museum, dedicated to the country’s first president, as a place in desperate need of major renovation.

We end with major news from PlusGrade. The Montreal-based company, which helps airlines and cruise lines increase ancillary revenue, has announced a deal to buy Points.com for $385 million in cash, reports editor Dennis Schaal.

The management team and board of directors of Points.com, a Toronto-based company that runs airline loyalty programs, among other services, support the deal, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals. The CEOs of both companies have already released statements touting the benefits of the deal.