Sam Baddoo tells us how Gaudi’s masterpiece La Sagrada Familia helped sparked an interest that led to preserving local heritage in his home country of Ghana.
Samuel William Baddoo is the West Africa Representative of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations and one of Adventures in Preservation‘s Project Managers. He has been a tourism professional since 1986 and owns The Home Tours Ltd (soon to become The African Journeys Co.Ltd.), which has been licensed by the Ghana Tourism Authority since 1994. Home Tours is a destination management organization that works with group travel to Ghana; Sam serves as the program designer and tour guide or heritage interpreter. His specialty is presenting the slave routes as an educational tour across West Africa, and many of his clients have been U.S. students from schools like Spellman, Tulane, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Agnes Scott College, University of Georgia as well as organizations from different fields.
Like many people, Sam came to his current field in a roundabout way. He started a career with the biggest insurance company in Ghana. He studied insurance at the Escuela de Seguros de Barcelona in Spain and also studied Hispanics at the Universidad Central in Barcelona, Spain. While in Spain, he, not surprisingly, developed an interest in arts and architecture, particularly especially monumental buildings, that would guide the next stages of his career. Sam had the opportunity to participate for three days in hands-on work at the site of the Holy Family Cathedral designed by Gaudi. From there, his new direction was clear.
He went on to study tourism at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana and, since joining Adventures in Preservation, he has added to his busy schedule, the travel to identify buildings which can be classified as monuments with commercial value after restoration. His primary interest is saving indigenously owned buildings of the slave trade era. He believes most historical buildings in Ghana are in crisis and may be destroyed before real tourism development can occur.
In 2015, Sam Baddoo was awarded a prize for creating the walking tour he leads in his native Ga community of Old Accra, in the capital of Ghana. He is also collecting materials for an indigenous museum to house war relics of his native Ga past. He is the first person to have organized a hand on-workshop on preservation of historical buildings in James Town- Accra, which attracted volunteers from Ghana, the U.S and Nigeria.
Sam Baddoo believes tourism has the potential to propel Ghana’s economy forward and is interested in partnering with tourism enthusiasts who want to send groups to Africa to consider Ghana as the preferred destination. It has a past worth exploring and a future to behold.