TAP, TAP, TAP…IS GHANA BLIND TO THE BENEFITS OF TOURISM?

Posted on October 3, 2011

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TAP PORTUGAL WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN has embraced Ghana and is flying to Accra four times a week.

Four Villages Inn had its first Portuguese guest who had flown with them. He said there was a big publicity campaign going on in Portugal and people were curious about Ghana.

WONDERFUL….but he also said that regulations to procure a VISA to Ghana required travellers in Portugal to mail their passports to Paris no less for processing. He said it took time and he was not comfortable putting his passport in the mail.

The question is how many prospective tourists from Portugal will Ghana lose because of this long, involved and potentially risky process…..

Over the years madinghana has argued voraciously in favour of scrapping the procurement of short term tourist visas in order to promote Ghana’s fledgling tourism industry. Take a peak at the post entitled A VISA TO GHANA FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA and follow the links to other posts on the subject.

However over the years, it has become increasingly more difficult to acquire a VISA with more bureaucratic barriers set up to Ghana, the so-called Gateway to West Africa. You might want to go to the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree travel site to read the numerous first hand reports of difficulties encountered crossing borders.

Comment: Why….why can’t government initiate a pilot project to see if a controlled opening of the borders might see a significant increase in arrivals?

Those against scrapping short-term tourist VISAs argue that it would worsen the drug problem…WRONG Ghana is a transit point for drugs not a final destination. The illegal drugs are bound for the lucrative European market, not for Ghana where the GNI per person in 2009 was US$700. And what’s more the drugs are not carried on people’s person, but are rather shipped.

And surely the issue for not considering scrapping VISA is not one of retaliation….it being harder for Ghanaians to procure a VISA to certain counties or being repatriated from western countries for not having the correct documentation. No, the future of Ghana rests with its people working here in Ghana and not in what the diaspora can send back…..

And probably the most far-fetched reason for not scrapping tourist visas might go something like this…oh, we’ve got another great resource to fall back on, so why give public support to the tourism industry. Why build good access roads to hotels and attractions; why train those in the hospitality industry etc. We’ll do OK with the oil as we have with the gold and the cocoa and the timber etc.

No, the multi ministry/department/authority will get its act together and start to collaborate to support the private sector which has invested heavily in the future of Ghana’s tourism industry. We here in Ghana are what is important!

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