Ms Lulu Xingwana[/caption] South Africa has initiated moves aimed at doubling the 21,000 Ghanaian tourists it receives every year. The country as part of that, has been rebranding and just two months ago, announced a visa free regime for Ghanaian travellers to the southern Africa nation. South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana, Lulu Xingwana, said plans are far advanced to eliminate the burden in acquiring South African visa. “We have already informed the Government of Ghana about the decision and it is our wish that the matter will be concluded as soon as possible to further strengthen relationship between the two countries,” she said. Addressing the South African Tourism trade road show and exhibition in Kumasi, the High Commissioner noted that “over the years, we have witnessed a steady increase over the number of tourists and visitors between our two counties. With the branding of South Africa and the waiving of visas, we are confident that these numbers will not only increase but doubled in the coming years”. She underscored the importance of tourism to the growth of the South African economy. “Tourism contributes 10% to the South Africa Gross Domestic Product (GDP) better that mining, agriculture, and manufacture. It has led to a number of job creation and rural development which has gone a long way to alleviate poverty,” she noted. The South Africa High Commissioner urged Ghanaian authorities to use creative ways to attract tourists using the country’s rich history, mining, agriculture, and arts and culture. The road show gives South African companies the opportunity to engage with West African travel operators with the view of enhancing partnership and facilitating business networking. Regional Head of South African Tourism, Thekiso Rakolojane noted the road show will not only benefit South Africa companies but Ghanaian business operators as well. “With the South African government’s renewed commitment to invest in and grow South Africa’s tourism sector, South African Tourism in on an aggressive drive o show trade partners in the West Africa region that SA is the destination to packages and sell to travelers,” said Thekiso.President of Tour Operators Union of Ghana, Kwesi Eyison, said Ghana needs to improve on its tourism potentials to consolidate tourism as the fourth foreign exchange earner for the county. He was confident the visa waiver will have an exponential growth on tourist arrivals in both Ghana and South Africa. The key objective of the road show is to grow arrivals to South Africa from West Africa region through highlighting varieties of tourism products and experiences.