A VISA TO GHANA FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA?

Posted on May 18, 2009

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So THE MAN is coming! Wonder if he is going to apply for a visa to visit THE GATEWAY TO WEST AFRICA. Wonder if he’ll have to submit it in quadruple? Wonder if he’ll have to include a return Fed Ex envelop? Wonder if he’ll have to wait and wait and have to phone and phone to see if the passport is being returned. Wonder if he might think of changing his plans? Wonder if he’ll be lucky enough to deal with a customer service oriented Ghanaian embassy technocrat? Oh the stories we  so often hear from tourists on their visa procurement ordeals….

Naa, the President travels on a diplomatic passport as do all other diplomats from all the dozens of embassies, high commissions and consulates located in Accra. Too bad, maybe the diplomatic community  could diplomatically suggest that  Ministry of Tourism officials and other stakeholders ( Gawd I hate that word)   consider scrapping VISAs for short term tourist visitors….

That won’t happen, so it’s got to be us….and a locally produced in flight magazine DESTINATION GHANA is leading the way… Now, hopefully you’ll send your comments…….

THIS EDITORIAL WILL APPEAR IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF DESTINATION GHANA. PERHAPS, YOU WOULD LIKE TO RESPOND TO THE ISSUE BY WRITING TO THE GHANA TOURIST BOARD. THE E-MAIL ADDRESS IS AT THE END OF  THE ARGUMENT. COPY YOUR COMMENT TO DESTINATION GHANA AND TO THIS BLOG. THANKS!

AN ARGUMENT: NO VISA REQUIREMENT FOR SHORT STAY VISITORS TO GHANA

With successful free and fair elections just held at the end of 2008, democracy reigns in Ghana.  In this spirit Destination Ghana (DG) would like to use this platform to try to generate discussion on scrapping Ghana’s existing visa requirements for short stay visitors.

DG feels that the government should consider this  if Ghana is to reach her maximum foreign tourism potential in this highly competitive industry. Just on this continent, titans of tourism such as South Africa, Tanzania and Egypt have long got rid of entry visas for short term guests. These countries tourism revenues continue to far exceed those of Ghana. Closer to home, the Gambia, Senegal and Cape Verde, leading tourist centres in West Africa, have no visa requirements for short stay visitors.

Often Ghana is compared to Malaysia since both countries gained independence in 1957. For 2007, Ghanaian government sources announced that Ghana accrued approximately US$ 1 billion from the foreign tourism sector. Malaysia, on the other hand, earned over 40 times that number. Yes, Malaysia has spent much more than Ghana promoting herself on the international stage, but they also have adopted no visa requirement for short stay visitors. It makes sense that Ghana, a country with a small promotional budget, would adopt such a policy. Furthermore, most of the Caribbean islands that goes head to head with Ghana for the sun worshipper dollar have waived visa requirements for short stay visitors despite having similar stringent requirements for locals going out of the country.

Having no visa requirement will mean tourists will have one less stressful bureaucratic hurdle to jump through. Often visa applications can cause delay and travelers are forced to change or cancel their travel plans. This can give Ghana a negative image abroad and can cause financial loss to the national tourism revenue.

If as a tourist or local  service provider wish  to support our position, e-mail your comments  to the Director of Operations at the  Ghana  Tourist Board” at gtb@africaonline.com.gh  with a copy to Destination Ghana at nomorevisas@fotomagikpublications.com.

This will give further living proof that democracy is alive and thriving in Ghana!

The Publishers

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