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Benin Hopes to Market itself as a Destination for Afro-descendant Tourists in the Diaspora

The Marina Project is a vast memorial and tourist complex under construction in Ouidah, a coastal town in the Republic of Benin in West Africa. Neighbouring Nigeria and its population of 220 million potential visitors also makes serene and diminutive Benin an enviable location for large scale tourist attractions. The waterfront development is located at what was the main slave port for the Bight of Benin. From this region almost two million enslaved Africans departed during the transatlantic slave trade. At its height – from the 1790s to the 1860s – Ouidah was controlled by the kingdom of Dahomey. The future complex will include a hotel spa, a lifesize replica of a slave ship, memorial gardens, a craft market and an arena for vodun performances. Vodun is a religion practised in Benin and among the descendants of enslaved Africans in the US, Haiti and beyond.