Stanbic Bank Ghana and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) today launched an innovative programme dubbed ‘‘I Go Ghana’ which seeks to attract Chinese tourists to the West African country.
With China as the world’s number one source market for tourism with 129 million outbound trips in 2017, Ghana hopes to attract a fraction of this figure to boost its economy.
Speaking at the launch in Accra, Alhassan Andani, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Ghana, said: “Ghana, being our home, we believe in driving her growth. That is why we see this partnership to bring to the people of Ghana and China closer as an opportunity to unlock the untapped potential that contact between the two countries offers.
Deepening Ghana-Sino contacts will undoubtedly deliver even more benefits to the economy and underline our total commitment to driving growth”.
Under the initiative, according to Mr Andani, Chinese tourists who visit Ghana would receive discounts and special offers whenever they use ICBC cards at selected travel, hospitality and lifestyle merchants in the country.
The programme is jointly run by the Standard Bank Group, Stanbic Bank Ghana’s parent group, and the ICBC with support from the Ghana Tourism Authority.
Lincoln Mali, Standard Bank’s Group Head of Card and Emerging Payments, added: “China has emerged as a key economic partner for Africa in recent years and through the ‘I Go Ghana’ programme, Standard Bank wants to strengthen relations between Ghana and China through trade and tourism. Such an arrangement, we believe is good for the tourism industry and the economies of the two countries”.
To further support this initiative and strengthen the Africa-China corridor, we as Stanbic, have been hard at work to enable the acceptance of Union Pay International cards on our Point of Sale devices, he explained.
“Customers travelling from China can now use their standard issue Union Pay International card to make purchases at all participating I-Go Ghana merchants – acceptance of this Scheme will be rolled out over the duration of 2018 into 2019 to non-participating merchants”.
On his part, Deputy CEO of ICBC Africa, Mr. Gang Sun stated that with the further development of ICBC internationalization, the bank would continue to provide its superior products and services in overseas market.
“Since the launch of the first season of China-Africa transnational promotion, I Go South Africa in November 2017, as well as the I Go Kenya in May 2018, ICBC, has provided more convenient transnational services to the credit card holders in Africa”.
In the future, ICBC and Standard Bank Group will continue to promote the “I Go” campaigns in other African countries to provide new opportunities for economic tourism Exchanges between China and Africa, he assured.
The Minister of Tourism, Madam Catherine Afeku, who delivered the keynote address at the launch thanked Stanbic Bank Ghana and ICBC for putting together the loyalty programme for the benefit of Ghanaian and Chinese tourists.
She however used the opportunity to appeal to the two banks to set up tourism desks for people who want to invest in Ghana’s tourism sector to go there for the needed information.
Madam Afeku also appealed to the Chinese bank to the support the development of the country’s Marine Drive project, a public-private partnership project expected to transform the beachfront stretch from the Osu Christianborg Castle in Accra to the Arts Centre into a vibrant business and commercial enclave.