This study uses Lukes’ (2005) three-dimensional power to explore the ability of traditional chiefs to influence slavery-based heritage tourism decisions. Traditional chiefs of five former slave communities in Ghana were in-depth interviewed about their efforts to harness community development through tourism and perceived influence in tourism decision-making process. Results indicated that despite being guardians of tourism resources, traditional chiefs perceive themselves to be powerless in affecting management decisions because of governmental control of local community institutions. They, however, exert considerable influence on tourism activities by either avoiding engagement or acting as community vanguards to discredit the interests of other stakeholders. Interview data support the theoretical tenets of Lukes’ (2005) three-dimensional view of power, and the need to pursue cooperative tourism planning is discussed.