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Experts urge African governments to develop sports tourism, economy

High cost of Nigerian visa stops Botswana from PANASA Championship

The Pan Africa Scrabble Association (PANASA) has lamented the absence of Botswana at the just-concluded President’s Cup and the African Youth Scrabble Championship in Lagos due to high cost of entry visa to Nigeria.

The organisers of the competition said Nigeria’s $245 visa fee stopped some countries from attending the championship, adding that the situation is affecting the country’s sports tourism industry negatively.

Chairman, board of trustees/director, Conflict Resolution and Migration Awareness Initiative (CRAMAI), Dr Emmanuel Ifeadi, urged the Federal Government to align with more African countries to reduce the cost of Nigeria’s entry visa, saying the high cost of getting into the country is also affecting the nation’s economy.

“Nigeria is acting on the principles of reciprocity on visa issues. If you investigate well, other countries charge high rate as well.

“The United Kingdom charges the highest rate; so, it is not a Nigerian issue alone. But the fact that the high visa rate affects Nigeria’s sports tourism industry, and the economy is true. So, if the government wants to grow the sports tourism industry, it needs to liaise with other countries to find a middle ground.

“Kenya and Nigeria have good relationship when it comes to visa issues, and I think the federal government should extend it to other countries using the African Union and other international organisations,” the seventh Dan blackbelt holder said.

Earlier, PANASA President, Adekoyejo Adegebesan, had described the absence of Botswana at the African Championship as bad for the continent’s sports development efforts and urged the various governments to enact friendly visa policies for people travelling to participate in sports.

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