As economic activities pick up gradually following the partial easing of COVID-19 induced restrictions in the country, hoteliers and tourist site operators are urging members of the public to freely patronize their services.
The continuous rise in Ghana’s COVID-19 case count appears to be creating some level of anxiety and apathy, leaving hotels and tourist sites with fewer numbers.
A visit by Citi Business News to some hotels and tourist attraction sites in the Eastern Region, shows that they have instituted the required safety measures to welcome patrons.
According to the managers of the facilities, the hospitality industry has been badly hit by the Covid-19 induced restrictions introduced to curtail the spread of the virus.
Nonetheless, weeks after these restrictions were partially eased; the industry is yet to pick up with some yet to resume full operations. This is because the continuous closure of the country’s borders means that travelers, who mostly patronize these hotels and tourist sites, can still not visit the country.
Even domestic tourism is yet to pick up fully, as most tourist sites have either shutdown or are only operating partially.
Although the partial lifting of restrictions on public gathering allows people to host social events and workshops, very few of such events are happening currently. Conferences and workshops in hotels have also reduced as many more organizations resort to virtual platforms for such engagements.
Wilfred Nii Korle Commodore, the Manager of Capital View Hotel in Koforidua, spoke to Citi Business News.
“The coronavirus has affected every sphere and the life of everyone in Ghana, and the hospitality industry has been badly affected as well. Here at Capital View Hotel, the good news is that unlike other hotels that shut down during the lock-down, we have been operating throughout without any issues because we have put in place strict safety measures. We have disinfected all our rooms as well as the restaurant, car park, gym, pool area and other facilities in the hotel. We have virtually done anywhere there could be a touch including the conference halls and vehicles to ensure that the place is entirely safe for our guests”.
“…Just at the entrance, your temperature is checked at the security point, we have hand washing facilities positioned at vantage points in the hotel, automatic dispensing hand sanitizers have been fixed at the entrance of all our conference halls as well as the corridors to all our rooms so that people can have easy access to them at all times so this place is very safe” he noted.
The Eastern Region is noted for its serenity, a factor that has enabled hotels such as Mac Dic Royal Plaza, Afrikiko River Front, Royal Senchi and numerous tourist attraction sites to thrive over the years.
Akosombo, a major town in the region, boasts as one of the major tourist destinations in the country
Joseph Lartey, the Rooms Division Manager at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo, says no case of Covid-19 has been recorded at their facility.
“Before we resumed operations we contacted our disinfection partners who came with the National Covid-19 disinfection equipment to fumigate the entire facility. Before you even enter the entire Akosombo township, you are taking through vigorous screening and at the entrance to this facility you will be checked again with your temperature being taken. We have provided hand washing facilities within the facility and ever since we resumed we haven’t recorded any suspected case of Covid-19 because all the safety protocols are being adhered to. We have reduced the physical contact between us and our patrons ensuring the proper distancing and we even advice our patrons to use mobile money transactions”.
Majority of workers in the hospitality industry were sent home particularly during the three-week lock-down, largely due to low patronage. But gradually, some hotels are calling back their staff. The Human Resource Manager of the hotel says the safety measures put in place is assuring enough for their customers.
“Our staff who were home are now back and were taken through vigorous training even when they were home in order for them to provide better services”.
The Head of Sales and Marketing for Volta Hotel and operators of Dodi World, Isaac Ofosu Obiri, says they have reviewed prices and introduced juicy packages to boost patronage and make up for the losses.
“As a company, we know things will not be the same so we are coming out with packages at a reduced rate which is a mixture of leisure, tour, sight-seeing and we all know Akosombo is a tourist destination so we will put all this together for people who are tired of staying home because of this Covid pressure. We will move them to Akosombo to cruise on the lake and enjoy other related packages”.
“We have also come up with a honeymoon package called the Akosombo Kanea, because of the Covid people were restricted and couldn’t have their wedding ceremonies and honeymoon, but now that it has been eased they can have it so we have the Akosombo Kanea and Volta Romance packages just for them. Also our conferencing rates have been drastically reduced with improved services and social distancing protocols”.
Managers of these hotels and tourist sites are however appealing to the general public to have confidence in their safety measures and patronize their services.
“We want to call on all Ghanaians to start patronizing our services and that of our colleagues because we have put in place strict safety measures for all to be safe”.