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General News of Sunday, 20 March 2011

Source: Ghanaian Times

Ghana is eleventh friendliest nation - Forbes.

Ghana has been adjudged the eleventh friendliest country in the world, making it one of the most preferred tourism destinations around the globe. Ghana was the only African country that was ranked high in a survey undertaken by Forbes, a reputable international magazine.

The survey which was done in consultation with a cross-section of world travelers in 2010, found that Ghana is one of the “most welcome nations.” Thailand came first, followed by Columbia, which was said to have very pleasant citizens and was a preferred destination, in spite of the perception of a centre of drug cartel operations.

Australia took the third place, while Costa Rica, Canada, Greece and India, captured the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh spots respectively. The United States was adjudged the eighth friendliest nation, followed by Turkey in the ninth position, new Zealand, tenth, Ghana eleventh, Fiji twelfth and Vietnam in 13th position. Reasons attributed to Ghana’s ranking include the fact that tourism in Ghana is “driven by natural history, colourful festivals, historic sites and the hospitable people”.

Unlike in many other African countries, Ghana’s different ethnic groups live side by side in relative harmony. “This sub-Saharan African county is renowned for its hospitability, friendliness, tolerance and patience,” the Forbes survey said of Ghana.

The survey, which was published early this month, said the achievement of Columbia was as a result of a national drive to promote its tourism potentials towards increasing tourist inflows. By so doing, the survey said, the nation desired to do change world’s own perception of itself.

The Ministry of Tourism, reacting to the outcome of the survey, said government was excited. “We are excited but government will not be carried away by our ranking,” James Agyenim Boateng, Deputy Minister of Tourism told the Times in Accra. Meanwhile, Ghana has improved in the latest rankings of the world’s favourite tourism destinations, moving two places up.

According to the latest travel and tourism index of the World Economic Forum, the country moved from 110 in 2009 to 108 in 2010 among the 139 countries surveyed. The movement is an endorsement of efforts by government to improve the sector, currently the fourth highest earner of foreign exchange.

The ranking was based on three main indicators, the regulatory framework covering the travel and tourism industry, business environment and infrastructure, and human, cultural and natural resources. In Africa, Ghana was ranked 10th after countries like South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Rwanda and Cape Verde.

Ghana performed a little better in the various sub-categories. Of the 139 countries, its regulatory framework was ranked 108th, the business environment and infrastructure was ranked105th whilst its’ human, cultural and natural resources was ranked 104th. Switzerland remains the most favoured tourism destination in the world.

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