As the coronavirus COVID-19 takes a toll on all kinds of businesses and economic activities globally, the Ghana Hotels Association says its members may be forced to close down some of their facilities if government doesn’t take steps to cushion them from the effects of low patronage.
The Association says very few people are now booking for rooms or conference halls, as public gatherings have been halted to prevent a nationwide spread of the virus.
Some organizations that had booked rooms and conferences prior to government’s directives, have cancelled same leaving the hotels with losses.
The President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah Nyameke Jnr., told Citi Business News even though hotel managers are still paying high utility bills there is a sharp drop in patronage.
He stated for example that conferences that were booked prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ghana have all been cancelled, while some have been postponed indefinitely.
He says the situation has compounded the financial burden of hotel managers since they are still paying salaries of their employees.
“The work thrives on visitors and clients coming in, and so if they are not coming, how are you going to manage your staff? How are you going to manage your bills, how are you going to manage the taxes and so on. We can only pray,” he said.
Dr. Nyameke explained that like all other businesses, operators in the hotel management sector cannot continue to incur losses if government does not step in to provide some relief for them.
He warned that thousands of people in the hotel management sector will be worse off if the situation persists.
“If we are not getting clients or guests at our facilities for a significant length of time, we would have to shut shown because we cannot continue working,” he said.
COVID-19 cases in Ghana so far
So far, Ghana has recorded seven cases of the COVID-19.
The government has earmarked US$100million to support the containment of the virus.
In addition, there have been some interim measures on social distancing to avoid a possible spread.
These include restriction of large gatherings for religious activities, conferences, schools and funerals among others.
Also, in bound travels from countries with 200 or more of the COVID-19 cases, have been halted temporarily as Ghana works to reduce the imported cases recorded so far.