Understanding visitors to slavery heritage sites in Ghana

Aaron Yankholmes, Robert Douglas McKercher

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has touched on the dissonance in visitors' experiences at sites associated with the Transatlantic Slave Trade (TAST) in Ghana, without considering the influence of their personal connection to the slavery and trip motives. Based on a survey of 550 visitors, this paper profiles visitors and then examines their knowledge and attitudes towards the site, motives for visitation and sensitivity towards other visitors. Four visitor segments were identified: connected slavery heritage visitor, connected vacationer, not connected bicultural and not connected Caucasian. Significant differences were found among the four cohorts with regard to their demographic and trip profiles as well as motives and knowledge of the site. However, as the paper describes, understanding visitor behaviour at such places depends on the intensity of experience sought or gained. The paper thus argues that care should be taken in distinguishing between the quintessential needs of root seekers from pleasure seekers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Connection to slavery
  • Ghana
  • Slavery heritage tourism
  • Trip purpose
  • Visit motivations
  • Visitor profiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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