Barbados has removed visa requirements for several countries as government seeks to increase the number of tourist arrivals, and make it easier for investors to do business with this island.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, made this disclosure during a post Cabinet press conference on Thursday at Government Headquarters on Bay Street.
No longer will visas be required for nationals of the following African countries to enter Barbados: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal, Rwanda, and Burkina Faso.
Visa waivers have also been granted to the Gulf States of Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Qatar as well as the Asian countries of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and India. In addition, Barbados has an honorary consul present in Monaco and visa requirements have also been lifted for that nation.
The Foreign Affairs Minister explained that it was important for Barbados to strengthen relations with countries within the global sphere, make new friends and attract more opportunities.
“We depend on tourism, investment and opportunities for business. We recognize in terms of travel that the stipulations for visas are sometimes a deterrent for tourists and those seeking to establish business with the country, they find it fairly complicated. In this regard, the Cabinet of Barbados agreed to remove the visa requirements for several countries in different parts of the world.
“We recognize that Africa, a continent of 54 countries, many of them showing growth rates of five, six, and seven per cent, in terms of Rwanda, it is time for us to look more closely at that continent. We have made a pledge, and we are moving towards establishing a mission in Accra, Ghana before the end of this year,” he said.
Minister Walcott said that government was also hoping to attract more tourists and investors from the Gulf States and Asian nations.
“We are recognizing and certainly hoping that the removal of these visa requirements would encourage a number of persons from these countries, not only in terms of tourism, but for investment and business,” he said.