Travel agents in Ghana want action over biased South Africa visa regime

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey 570x405 1 Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister

Sat, 11 Mar 2023 Source: aviationghana.com

Ghana-based travel consultants have called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to as a matter of urgency, look into the existing biased visa regime between Ghana and the Republic of South Africa that is frustrating business, trade, and leisure between the two countries.

While Ghanaian authorities grant South Africans visa-on-arrival at a fee at the Kotoka International Airport, Ghanaians are not accorded the same courtesy in the spirit of the bilateral relations between the two countries.

A renowned travel consultant, name withheld, who spoke to AviationGhana said: “Good job for capturing the SA visa issue. It’s really very irritating. I have a corporate group scheduled to travel this Friday (March 3, 2023) and visas are not ready, though we submitted their application on February 13. We have another leisure group whose visas have been unnecessarily delayed.

Now they [SA High Commission] are requesting for bank letter in addition to a bank statement. It’s very annoying, to say the least for us to go through all these troubles while they get visa-on-arrival when coming to Ghana.”

He called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “sit up and ensure a fair bilateral visa regime’ between the two countries.

Another travel consultant vented that: “I did an E-Visa for two clients. Two months later, they [SA High Commission] said it was not effective anymore, after paying a visa fee of US$120.

I applied for a visa for another client, his passport was there for three months and they still didn’t give him the visa. Ghanaians aren’t outspoken so they treat us anyhow.”

Push for E-Visa for a start

While Ghanaians struggle with booking appointments through the VFS to submit visa applications, Nigeria has been activated for online Visa Application processing. Which is more efficient and less frustrating?

While awaiting resolution of the issue, the Country Manager of South African Airways, Madam Gloria Wilkinson-Mensah, urged the institution of an online visa regime just as has been done for Nigerians traveling to South Africa.

“It will be a good alternative to the long-awaited visa waiver protocol between Ghana & RSA. With the AFCFTA secretariat in Ghana, headed by a South African, free movement of people and goods should start with these two countries as a goodwill gesture and commitment to the vision for the Continent.”

Background of the proposed visa-free travel to South Africa

In July 2019, Ghana along with 6 other countries, was penned down for a visa-free travel regime by South Africa Home Affairs office. The countries were: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe.

Promises were made by SA authorities to meet their Ghanaian counterparts to finalize the implementation by the end of August 2019.

A visa-free regime was approved for all the countries on the list a few weeks later with the exception of Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.

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Source: aviationghana.com
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