Developing Ghana's Slave Route Project for cultural tourism : planning and marketing implications

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Developing Ghana's Slave Route Project for cultural tourism : planning and marketing implications


Author: Yankholmes, Aaron Kofi Badu
Title: Developing Ghana's Slave Route Project for cultural tourism : planning and marketing implications
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Heritage tourism -- Ghana
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xxii, 472 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: This study investigates whether a single unified collective memory can be imposed on different social groups of multiple collective memories. While tourism research has problematised the Slave Routes as a dissonant form of heritage, a strong body of evidence from a collective memory perspective suggests that multiple stakeholders with power imbalances attend to it. However, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation's intervention through the creation of Slave Route Project (SRP) has for sometime now promoted the idea of a single global collective memory on the Slave Routes. As result, the central theme outlined by the SRP homogenises and commodifies some memories while de-emphasising others. The study, therefore, draws on Halbwachs' (1980, 1992) thesis on collective memory, and Tunbridge and Ashworth's (1996) concept of dissonant heritage in an effort to identify some verticals as well as parallels in multiple stakeholder articulation of collective slave memories across space and time. To address the study objectives, a descriptive research design was adopted. This provided the basis for employing a multi-strategy approach to integrate multiple data sources and methods. The study, therefore, draws on elements of both positivist and interpretivist techniques in data collection. The quantitative research employed a questionnaire survey involving 1,028 local residents in five former Transatlantic Slave Trade (TAST) communities in Ghana, West Africa and 566 international visitors. The qualitative research used purposive and snowballing sampling methods, which resulted in 95 interviews involving descendants of 'slaves', descendants of enslavers, traditional authorities and expatriate diasporan Africans. The primary data collection was undertaken between January and June 2012.
The findings suggest that promoting the idea of a single unified collective memory on the Slave Routes is heavily contested given the subtle uses of collective slave memory within and between the different communities and social groups. Within each community, articulation of collective slave memories implicitly and explicitly reflect the power and social structures which, in turn, influences the uses and terms of meaning attending TAST heritage by the different social groups. Between communities, memory narratives were spatially constructed with different communities having different collective slave memory based on their historic roles during the TAST and local identity that tends to stress the unique attributes of tangible heritage attractions. The results further indicated that visitors to TAST memory sites had different motives and experiences. Some were closely tied to collective slave memory while many were tied to the recognition of some TAST cultural assets as Wold Heritage Sites and consequent interpretation as well as the presentation of global collective memory there. The findings underline the point that tourism planning and marketing efforts on the Slave Routes should take cognisance of the complexities of multiple stakeholders and their contemporary use of TAST cultural assets, especially given the changing character of cultural heritage assets due to international tourism promotion. This is epitomised by the development of a conceptual framework that recognised the dominant stakeholders to the remembrance of collective slave memories and the multiple collective heritage created and shared by them.

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