An elephant walks at the Mole National Park in Ghana, Dec. 24, 2016. (Xinhua/Shi Song)
ACCRA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- There is great potential to deepen tourism cooperation between China and Ghana as Africa has become an important destination for tourists from China, Wang Shiting, Chinese ambassador to Ghana said here on Monday.
Speaking during a Ghanaian tourism promotion program between the two countries, Wang added that Ghana's natural endowment was a great advantage for tourism development and attraction.
Although Chinese tourist arrivals in Africa in 2017 reached 13 million with more than 20 billion US dollars spent by these tourists in Africa, the ambassador lamented that only a small fraction of that benefit came to Ghana.
"Ghana has a great potential in tourism because you have both natural views such as ocean beach, forestry, and lake as well as cultural landscapes. However they are not fully developed and the infrastructure is not quite satisfying," the ambassador observed.
He is hopeful that China's assistance in inviting 20 officials from Ghana's Ministry of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture for training in China in 2017 will help the West African country exploit further its potentials in tourism.
The program which is aimed at promoting tourism and trade between Ghana and China is a collaboration between the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Standard Bank of South Africa, mother company of Stanbic Bank of Ghana.
Under the initiative which is supported fully by the government of Ghana through the Ghana Tourism Authority, Chinese tourists who visit Ghana will receive discounts and special offers whenever they use ICBC cards at selected travel, hospitality and lifestyle merchants in the country.
Ghana's Minister for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku who delivered a keynote address during the launch urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its affiliates to ensure that visa acquisition was made easy if Ghana really wanted to attract tourists from China.
"Visa is a challenge; Visa acquisition is not seamless. We should ensure that our visa processing especially for our Chinese tourists, either we have a desk here at our airport or within other regions in China, to enhance the numbers we want in Ghana," she urged.