A single visa for the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) could increase tourist visits to Ghana and spur economic growth, Ms Anne Sophie- Ave, the Ambassador of France to Ghana has said.
Currently, tourists coming to Ghana needed to get a Ghanaian visa before they enter Ghana, but Ms Ave said a unique ECOWAS visa would be a game changer.
The Ambassador of France was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on lessons Ghana could learn from France,to develop its tourism sector and tackle climate change.
Ms Ave said a tourist with the ECOWAS visa, especially citizens outside the West African sub-region, could travel to Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Liberia and other ECOWAS countries without stress.
According to her, France, the world’s leader in tourism was able to achieve that feat partly because of the schengen visa which enables visitors to enter all the 26 Schengen countries.
She said tourism contributed enormously to France’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the country welcomed 90 million tourists when COVID-19 was still wreaking havoc across the globe.
Ms Ave attributed her country’s booming tourism sector to good quality training offered by hoteliers to frontline/desk receptionists, hotel guards, affordable accommodation and food, good customer care and investment in infrastructure.
Ghana, she said, can emulate these good examples by improving access to accommodation and provision of restaurants nearby tourists’ sites and places of scenic interest.
MsAvealso advised tourists to use signage to help them locate important tourist sites like the Elmina Castle and Kakum National Park in Central Region, Mole National Park in the Northern Region and Mountain Afadjato in the Volta Region.
She said that fighting climate change was a shared responsibility to help countries to reduce carbon emissions to internationally acceptable levels.
MsAvesaid France has made strides both at the multilateral and bilateral levels to mitigate the worst impact of climate change.
She said France also provided technical and financial support to organisations that undertake climate change activities.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA