A belated HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY MADinGhana readers. Yesterday, besides wishing my Ghanaian born daughter a Happy Independence Day, I saluted a Ghanaian friend here in Montreal. His reply, “How old are we now? 54? What have we done?”
Now to the subject of this post.
TOMORROW, PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL HOST PRESIDENT MILLS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. Here’s the press release out of the U.S. Embassy in Accra picked up by a Ghanaian news service.
So what will the two presidents talk about?…Needless to say there will be some reminiscing about President Obama and his family’s July, 2009 visit to Ghana, the centre piece being the visit to Cape Coast Castle, the jewel in Ghana’s tourism crown. If anything, let’s hope that trip to Cape Coast castle, leads to the topic of tourism.
And let’s hope President Obama touches on the U.S. government’s focus on promoting and developing American tourism in this post 9-11 world. Ironically, the Ghana Tourism Authority publicized President Obama government’s initiatives in a post on its TOURING GHANA blog. Read it..it’s all about VISA facilitation to promote tourism! I say “ironically” because it seems acquiring tourist VISAs to Ghana has become increasingly more difficult of late and…. there was not one mention of the tourism sector in President Mills’ own recent STATE OF THE UNION address!
Anyways, let’s hope they discuss the role tourism development plays in nation building and what government can do to support private sector investment thus creating jobs and wealth. Gawd, they can even touch on the nitty-gritty of tourist visa facilitation with mention of on-line tourist VISA application procedures at lower rates such as what Sri Lanka has implemented, tourist VISAs readily available on demand at Ghana’s international airport, or better still scrapping short-term tourist VISAs altogether such as what was done in the Gambia.
And just a final aside…a pity President Mills’ visit to the U.S. wasn’t scheduled over the past weekend. He could have attended the NEW YORK TIMES 2012 TRAVEL SHOW. Now that would have upstaged all those East African countries and South Africa present at the show! Hee, hee…but of course March 6th celebrations took presidence.
P.S. I will forward this to the Community Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Accra. I know the Ghana Tourist Authority subscribes to MADinGhana.