By Kingsley Asare
Ghana must shift its focus from exporting oil and other raw materials to China and rather initiate measures to attract more Chinese tourist to the country to attract more foreign exchange, Managing Director of Stanbic Ghana, Alhassan Andani has said.
He said last year 129 million Chinese people left the shores of the country as tourist to the other parts of the world and they spent more than $259 billion.
Mr Andani said this at the launch of the ‘I Go Ghana’ loyalty programme in which Stanbic Bank Ghana and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have joined hands to promote tourism and trade between Ghana and China.
Under the initiative, 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.
Mr Andani said China had become the growth engine and manufacturing house of the world, with a huge leap in technology, saying that all “the big technological company American can boast of, China has its equivalent.”
He said with the new found global economic strength, the people in China had become pretty wealthy, especially the middle class.
“Whiles we are look at exporting oil to China, we should let them bring their tourists to Ghana. Ghana is still the unspotted part of the world, with good vegetation, people in their natural habitat with so much and nature history around it and let us attract the 129 million Chinese tourists to Ghana and spend their tourism dollars here,” he 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,” said Alhassan Andani, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Ghana.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku said government would work with the private sector to build hotels and tourists facilities across the country and lauded Stanbic Bank Ghana and ICBC for the initiative to attract Chiese tourists into the country.
The Standard Bank’s Group Head of Card and Emerging Payments, Lincoln Mali said: “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”.
The Chief Executive officer of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman said “China remains an important in-bound destination for us at the Ghana Tourism Authority and we have taken appropriate steps and measures to ensure that the local industry is well equipped to host the Chinese traveller. This collaboration further opens up the opportunity for us to enter the Chinese market, and ensure that Ghana remains an interesting and enticing destination.”
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, stating that 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, had provided more convenient transnational services to the credit card holders in Africa.