Ghana’s vice-president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said that the Ghana eVisa will be introduced next year aimed to boost tourism in the country. Speaking at the World Tourism Forum Africa, he encouraged the heads of other West African countries to open up the region to tourism too.
He said that tourism in Ghana was a priority: “Ghana is focused on building and upgrading existing infrastructures to support the tourism industry."
Dr Bawumia indicated that Ghana is working with other countries to encourage and facilitate visa-free movement around several regions of Africa and he urged other African leaders to open up their airspaces and to reduce air taxes on intercontinental flights.
He said that the summit was of great importance and that he was happy that Ghana had been selected to host it.
“Our commitment is to meet our tourism industry goals, and we are working very hard to ensure that we achieve these goals within the next few years," he said.
“Our natural environment and security of our country, as well as a stable political climate, makes this achievement attainable...one major project government is undertaking is the expansion and revamping of our international airport to make it the gateway into West Africa and the regional aviation hub,” he said.
Government plans to develop coastline
Dr Bawumia laid out the government's plan to make Ghana the number one African holiday destination. Part of the plan is to begin working on a marine drive investment project that will develop 241 acres of coastline into tourist facilities. He said the marina will host over 70 world-class hotels as well as restaurants, tourist attractions, and shopping malls.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku said that over the years, the tourism industry in Ghana has been one of the key revenue generation sectors of its economy.
She joined the vice president in urging African governments to expand tourism as a way of encouraging economic growth. She said she was confident that the summit would help to create opportunities in the film, arts, fashion, food, and music industry, noting that the development of the tourism sector would lead to the creation of jobs to help reduce unemployment.
This is the first time any African country has hosted the World Tourism Forum. Ghana was chosen ahead of South Africa, Kenya, and Morocco due to the peaceful political atmosphere, hospitality, and security it offers.
Other topics discussed included marketing, e-tourism, tourism investment, regional differences and hotel management. The World Tourism Forum is a global event held in different parts of the world, experts and stakeholders in tourism are invited to speak and to promote investment in international tourism.