Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, has asked stakeholders tasked with the management and disbursement of the newly launched World Bank sponsored $9 million dollar Grant Scheme for Small and medium scale enterprises in the tourism sector, to be prudent as that will attract more support for the sector.
The tourism sector, which made gains in 2019 following a successful implementation of the Year of Return program, has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Senior Minister, if businesses within the sector take advantage of some of the opportunities available despite COVID-19, the sector could recover much more quickly.
“We got the initial capital of nine million. If you apply it properly and the promotion goes on as expected with the change we all expect in the tourism sector, definitely, this will be the beginning as there will be a lot more money invested. Indeed, normally when the World Bank finances a project, it is an initial sum and you will expect other donors to buy into it to make it bigger. So, I will urge the operators to make it a success and it will attract more money,” he said.
Ghana’s tourism is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. The sector is projected to create about a million jobs, while contributing about 6.2 percent to Ghana’s GDP.
Most of the income realized from the sector mainly comes from foreigners who visit the country.
However, the sector is experiencing a rapid and sharp drop in demand and a surge in job losses.
Analysts have projected that revenue from the sector will continue to dip a little longer due to the closure of borders.
The Scheme, earmarked for interventions to strengthen the industry severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, is under the Ghana Tourism Development Project, a world bank funded project.
The beneficiaries to be supported under the scheme comprise mainly Ghanaian indigenous businesses in the tourism value chain, including micro businesses that employ between 1 to 5 persons, small businesses that employ between 6 to 30 people, and medium businesses that employ 31 to 100 people.