- The Ghanaian government has demonstrated great interest in the tourism sector of the Spanish Canary Island, off North-West Africa's coast. The country wants to learn from Canary Island's tourism industry and thus hopes to double its tourist arrivals from today's half a million annual visits.
Ghanaian and Spanish government and business leaders this week have met at the Fifth Exposition of Spanish Products in Ghana, held at the Ghana Trade Fair Site in Accra. Also a large delegation from the Canary Islands is present at the Fair. Here, the Ghanaian government informed it was to send a delegation to the Spanish holiday resort islands "as soon as possible" to deepen the commercial ties.
The Ghanaian Minister of Tourism, Jake Obeisebi, today confirmed that his government wants to learn from the Canary Islands' tourism industry with the aim of, within four years, doubling Ghana's tourist arrivals from today's half a million annual visits.
At the same time, Ghana's Minister of Trade, Industry and Presidential Initiatives, Alan Kyerematen, also today announced that his administration "as soon as possible" was to send an official delegation to the Spanish islands to strengthen the economic and commercial ties between the two parties, according to reports from the special correspondent of ACN Press in Accra.
The Ghanaian Tourism Minister, Mr Obeisebi, remarked that tourism in his country still was to be considered "underdeveloped". This was, he noted, a fact even if Ghana and South Africa are the two sub-Saharan African states that receive the highest number of tourists annually.
Mr Obeisebi said his country needed the well-developed tourism experience of the Canary Islands to create further growth in this sector in Ghana. He further emphasised that with help from the Canary Islands, Ghana could also reach its goal of doubling its current number of employees in the tourism sector to reach 300,000 within few years.
The Minister noted he was aware of the "saturation" of the tourism market on the Canary Islands, which currently receives 14 million visitors annually, and suggested that the islands' businessmen engaged in the tourism industry were well advised to invest in hotels and lodges in Ghana to increase their foreign engagements.
Mr Obeisebi further emphasised that his country recently was declared to be the best tourism destination on the African continent by the World Tourism Organisation and argued that Ghana has an "enormous potential to attract more tourists, but we need the money and the aid from those tourism experts that exists in the Canary Islands."
The Minister however agreed that Ghana also would need better flight connections with the outside world to facilitate the arrival of more tourists. In this context, Mr Obeisebi urged his country's airliner, Ghana Airways, to re-establish the old connection with the Canary Islands in addition to open up for more destinations on the European continent.
Mr Kyerematen, the Ghanaian Trade and Industry Minister, on the other hand confirmed that the main need for investors in Ghana were with the sectors of construction, pharmacology, fisheries and the production of salt. He however agreed with his colleague Minister on the need of learning from the Canary Islands, and promised to send an official delegation to the islands "as soon as possible".
The autonomous Spanish Canary Islands are located just off North-West Africa. Lately, both the island's government and their chambers of commerce have focused on trade with neighbouring Western Africa. Canary Island businessmen especially focus on Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and the Cape Verde islands. Secondary, focus is on Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria.
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