The Chamber of Tourism Industry Ghana is calling for persons who come into the country by air bearing tourist visas to be exempted from paying the $150 for the COVID-19 test.
According to the Chamber, this will help encourage more persons to visit the country and in the long run increase patronage of tourist sites.
Speaking to Citi Business News, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Prince Ntiamoah Boampong, indicated that the relief would help contribute significantly to the country’s ailing tourism industry.
He stated that, “There were some few exemptions they made that, children under 5 years will not do the test. For children between 5 and 12, the government will pay for their test. To us, these are great exemptions, but they could have also added that people coming into the country with tourist visas can also come through for free. That will also go a long way to encourage patronage for the tourism sector which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Tourism Chamber kicks against $150 COVID-19 Test fee
The Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana has consistently opposed the fee for the COVID-19 test since the announcement describing it as a disincentive for tourists who wish to travel into Ghana.
It appealed to government to drastically reduce the $150 fee if it is indeed committed to reviving the tourism sector which has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 negatively impacts tourism sector
The tourism sector has been one of the sectors affected by the pandemic. It is estimated that as of June 2020 the sector had incurred losses running into $171 million as a result of the pandemic.
But as part of government’s measures towards preventing a spread of the pandemic it introduced a mandatory PCR test for passengers of all airlines coming into the country.
K.I.A. revised COVID-19 safety protocols
The management of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) recently revised the Coronavirus-induced safety protocols for passengers travelling to Ghana amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
The new safety protocols, which took effect on Monday, November 16, 2020, require passengers arriving in Ghana to pay the $150 for the PCR test online at https://myfrontierhealthcare.com/Home/Ghana.
A statement issued by the KIA to highlight the guidelines stated that passengers must not have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 including body temperature >38 degrees Celsius.
Also, passengers must possess a COVID-19 negative PCR test from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin and airlines who bring in travellers who have not paid for the test online would be fined $3,500 per passenger.