GHANA TOURISM: SCRAP SHORT TERM TOURIST VISAS-FOLLOW UP

Posted on January 19, 2011

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Since the last post on this topic, a few additions:

1. First, shame on me, I got the GHANA TOURIST BOARD e-mail address wrong. It’s gtb@africaonline.com.gh

2. This correction came from Bob Burch in Canada, who has been travelling to Ghana since the early 1990’s to work in various capacities in the tourism sector. Here are his comments from the Canadian perspective:

“The letter left out a few other additional costs:

FOUR photographs are required for each visa (about $20 per set)
That makes $80 for a family of four.

You cannot pay in cash, cheque or by credit card so you must purchase a Money order: ($5.00)

You MUST send your applications by a courier (at least here in Canada) to the Ghana High Commission along with a pre-paid return envelope. Cost is about $30 each way (total $60.00)

On top of all that, even though there is no cost for the actual application forms, the GHC requires FOUR copies of each application and proof of a return ticket. You are also requested to provide a photocopy of your Yellow Fever vaccination IN ADVANCE to be submitted along with your application(s).

By the way, I checked to see how many Yellow Fever cases there were in Ghana for 2009. There were exactly 3 cases reported – all in the extreme north.

Incidentally, the correct email address for the Ghana Tourist Board is gtb@africaonline.com.gh”

3. I was thinking about the comment in the tourist’s letter indicating how few families they saw on their travels around GHANA. Well if anyone is going to make a case for scrapping short-term tourist visas, a good source of data regarding families can come from TRIP ADVISOR reviews. At the beginning of each hotel reviewed on Trip Advisor, there is a breakdown on the type of traveller the reviewer is: Business reviewer, Couples reviewer, Family Reviewer, Friends Getaway Reviewer and Solo Travel Reviewer. Well, for FOUR VILLAGES INN, #1 ranked GUESTHOUSE in Kumasi, we have had 28 reviews and only four are family reviewers in this very family friendly guest house. I looked up other #1 ranked guest houses/resorts:

Afia Beach Resort, Accra, 37 reviews total, 3 are Family reviewers
Green Turtle Lodge, W.R., 22 reviews total, 4 are Family reviewers
Mighty Victory, Cape Coast, 14 reviews total, 3 are Family reviewers
La-Paradise, Accra, 25 reviews total, 2 are Family reviewers
and thought I’d do an upmarket hotel near the airport:
Holiday Inn, Accra Airport, 42 reviews, 1 is a Family reviewer

Point made?

4. I forwarded the first post on scrapping short-term tourist visas to the National President of the Ghana Hotels Association. Later this week, the National Executive of the Ghana Hotels Association will be meeting in Bolgatanga. I suggested that the subject of short-term visas be discussed. Let’s hope the meeting gets past the association’s new clothe and the flag, reforms of the constitution of the association, funerals for dead hoteliers and what to do with recalcitrant members and dues owing.

Incidentally, the Ghana Hotels Association is by far the most powerful of associations involved in the hospitality industry. All associations are brought together under one umbrella of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) which comprises of 13 member associations and 6 affiliate organizations. Oh, what a power it could be if only it was issues driven and got political!

5. FLASH, FLASH: I hear there is a new requirement:if you have been invited by a friend to Ghana, you also have to submit a photo copy of their passport particulars. Apparently, Ghanaian immigration officials are concerned about the welfare of visitors to Ghana and want to protect them. They say that a lot of foreigners are being lured to Ghana by Ghanaians for unscrupulous reasons and this new regulation will allow them to track down nefarious individuals.

6. And….best of all, Ghana has a new minister of tourism. What’s great is that in her previous portfolio as Minister of Youth and Sport she had a lot of experience in the area of VISAS. Take a peak and take time to read the two comments, one, of course, from madinghana himself.

Wouldn’t it be great in the future when Ms Akua Sena Dansua leaves the Ministry of Tourism that the headline would read,

“I GOT RID OF SHORT TERM TOURIST VISAS TRULY MAKING GHANA THE GATEWAY TO WEST AFRICA-MS AKUA SENA DANSUA”

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