No Political Will to Develop Tourism: Theory No. 8: Visas

Posted on March 15, 2013

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Yesterday evening, I received a call from an “unknown number”. The person said they were friends of guests who were coming to Four Villages Inn in a few weeks time and they needed “a signed letter of invitation” to procure a tourist visa for Ghana. I said I would email a letter, but it would not be signed.

Here’s what I wrote minus the names of course:

To Whom it May Concern:

I would like to invite ——–, travelling with her father ——– and her daughter—— who are booked at Four Villages Inn on (dates). Should you wish to check on the authenticity of this letter, please phone our land line in Kumasi the number indicated below in our permanent signature.

Now you know me…and my rampant, off kilter, and wacky imagination…how I wanted to add to the letter:

Kindly overlook the fact that ……is an international drug dealer and will be entering Ghana with a large cache of cocaine stuffed in her pants, that her father ….. is a sex tourist and that they plan to sell the daughter….. into slavery here.

Ridiculous, yes……the letter and the requirement. But it is increasing difficult for foreigners to procure short-term tourist visas! Another guest said that if they had known it would be so difficult to get the visa they would not have bothered..he is a retired diplomat and he got in touch with his country’s mission here in Ghana who in turn advised him to contact the hotel he and his wife were booked at in Accra. It is interesting to note that these guests came to Ghana via South Africa where they holidayed first and took a cruise liner from Port Elizabeth to Tema. Incidentally, the gentleman from Europe told me they were exempt from getting a visa for South Africa since they were entering the country for tourist purposes only. NOT SO GHANA!

If you have been following this blog, you’ll know that campaigning for the scrapping of short-term tourist visas has been an obsession of mine. There are close to twenty posts on the subject. Here is the latest dated June 11, 2012….guess after awhile you kind of give up when you are a lone voice in the wildness.

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