….which, picking up from the last madinghana post, is more than Honourable Hanna Tetteh, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
…and what’s more the Bradt Guide to Ghana “strongly supports” the campaign…which again is much, much more than Honourable Hanna and her Facebook friends…
Here is what Philip Briggs wrote in Edition 6 of the Bradt Guide to Ghana under the RED TAPE section about SCRAP SHORT TERM TOURIST VISAS TO GHANA:
“The recent initiative of several other African countries in allowing tourists to purchase a short-term visa upon arrival (VOA) at airports and land borders has led to some pressure being exerted from within the tourist industry in Ghana either to scrap short-term visas or else to go over to a VOA system. The lobby for this proposal is focused on a facebook group called Scrap Short Term Tourist Visas to Ghana (www.facebook.com/groups/36532483572287/), which argues that the current visa system is undermining the development of Ghana’s tourist industry. Within Ghana, the main objections to scrapping the current visa system are are (sic) either to do with security (in particular a frequently voiced fear that VOA will make it easier for homosexuals and other ‘perverts’ to enter the country) or with reciprocity (many Western countries require Ghanaians to jump hoops in order to get a visa). We strongly support the scrapping of visas or conversion to VOA , and will post any news on the updates website (www.bradtupdates.com/ghana) as we are made aware of it.”
It appears that Philip Briggs has pretty much hit the mark in his analysis, at least on the reciprocity issue.
Here is Honorable Hanna’s opinion on the scrap short term tourist visas to Ghana campaign directed to her Facebook friends. This response came after my repeated attempts to bring to the minister’s attention through her twitter account that changing tourist visa policy could benefit Ghana’s chronic youth unemployment problem:
5 hours ago near Accra, Ghana ·
“Hello Friends, there is an expatriate called Christopher Scott who is leading a campaign to scrap the requirements for foreigners to obtain entry visa’s before coming into Ghana. He has an account on Facebook and he has created an account for @visafreeghana on Twitter using my photograph as a background. The question for me really is how many Ghanaian’s think that it would be a good policy decision to allow all tourists (and essentially that means anyone who wishes to enter into Ghana and claims to be a tourist) on a visa free basis. I don’t know where Mr. Scott comes from or where he works, or why he has made campaigning for visa free entry for foreign visitors/expatriates a social media campaign issue, but I know that all European countries, the US, Canada & Australia require Ghanaian citizens to apply and obtain valid entry visa’s before we enter their countries and I do not get the impression that Mr. Scott is expecting visa-free access to be extended to Ghanaian citizens to any of these countries on abasis. If we were to do this it would have to be a policy decision that Ghanaian’s endorse. Mr. Scott seems to think that this will enhance job creation and any social or security concerns we may have are outweighed by the job-creation benefits of such an initiative & has undertaken to addressing his views to me on twitter. I wonder what my Ghanaian Facebook friends think of his campaign.”
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Wonderful that Honourable Hanna would consult her Facebook friends after she stated her opinion. They really backed her position so harshly that the insults were flying and one of her Facebook friends even suggested I be arrested!
Ghana being a participatory democracy, I do hope Honourable Hanna seeks out more opinions, especially those from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and the Ghana Tourism Authority.
Is it not a shame that so much good for Ghana is lost for these reasons? What’s more, is it not a shame that there is so little dialogue on the issue: in government circles, in the Ghanaian tourism community, in the Ghanaian media, with foreign mission representation here in Ghana and local and international based foundations/think-tanks etc focusing on African issues.
This has been hard to post, but Ghana is worth it!