The business community in the tourism, sport and entertainment industries in Ghana has been encouraged to take advantage of the visa waiver agreement between Ghana and South Africa for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Mr. Thekos Rokolojane, Head of South Africa Tourism, West Africa, speaking at the launch of the Ghana-South Africa bilateral visa waiver at the residence of the South Africa’s High Commissioner to Ghana, said the waiver had a reciprocal effect on Ghana due to the tourism and entertainment potentials of the country.
He said the visit of South Africans to Ghana and their participation in entertainment, arts, and sporting activities presented an opportunity for the business community, particularly tour guides and operators to take advantage of the development to grow their businesses.
According to the Ghana Tourism Authority, 18,388 South Africans visited Ghana in 2019.
The governments of Ghana and South Africa have signed an agreement to waive visas for travellers from their respective countries.
The agreement, which took effect on November 1, will allow travellers from both countries to transit, depart, and stay in another country for a period of up to 90 days.
Mr Thando Dalamba, Deputy South African High Commissioner to Ghana, addressing guests at the event, welcomed the decisions by the two countries for a waiver requirement, as that would drastically improve tourism and promote cultural activities.
The visa waiver, he said, would potentially contribute towards South Africa’s realisation of 11 million tourist visits by 2030.
The Deputy High Commissioner said the idea of the waiver was conceived owing to the frustration travellers expressed regarding the internal processes of adjudicating and evaluating visa applications.
Ms Alisa Osei-Asamoah, President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), who spoke to the Ghana News Agency, lauded both countries for the move as it had allayed their fears of acquiring visas.
The visa waiver, according to her, would ease the process of acquiring visas for tourists and businesspeople and better reposition themselves to benefit from the waiver.
She said the visa waiver had presented an opportunity for a collaborative partnership between tour operators in Ghana and South Africa, which would facilitate tourism in both countries.
This means that there should be a conscious effort by the government to develop the capacity of personnel in the country, Ms Osei-Asamoah added.
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