Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal
Tourism Consultant and Analyst, Mr. Emmanuel Frimpong at the Pishon Consult Limited, has called on the government to grant visa-free entry to tourists.
He said, “As a country, we have made lots of progress in the tourism sector with the influence of international tourists, hence it is important to make entry into the country a bit easy for them to come all the time to invest.”
According to him, some tourists don’t only come into the country to have fun, they come to invest in the country’s economy for both short and long term, hence the need for introducing visa-free packages.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr. Frimpong said tourism was a strong primary source of revenue for the country’s economy, with the potential to take Ghana out of the current economic situation. He said most countries were now going beyond just the e-visa to making their country a visa-free entry for many tourists due to their positive impacts on the local economy.
“These countries hold tourism, arts and cultural sector in high esteem and are generating huge incomes from it. Once we begin to understand the importance, and role of tourism, we will see a quick economic turnaround,” he pointed out.
On ways of developing the sector, he encouraged deeper engagement between the private and public sectors. “The public sector must involve the private sector in all aspects of decision-making and work closely for the development of the industry.
He added that government agencies and organisations must understand how tourism operates and begin to feel the connectivity between them and the tourism industry. “I have no doubts that if the right things are done, tourism can become the number one GDP earner for this country and can be the source of income for many homes, especially rural dwellers.”
He, however, commended the Tourism Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal for implementing the public-private partnership forum, which was a requirement backed by a Legislative Instrument to be organised quarterly every year.
He noted that “the forum is supposed to happen every quarter, but we have not held it for a long time until Dr. Awal took office. I commend him for that and urge him to continue to promote the tourism agenda for all to come on board.”