The Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana has appealed to government to drastically reduce the $150 fee for COVID-19 test at the country’s Airport if it is indeed committed to reviving the tourism sector which has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber has been opposed to the charge describing it as a disincentive for tourists who wish to travel into Ghana.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the CEO of the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana, Prince Ntiamoah Boampong, said beyond the talk, government should reduce the fee immediately
“What we have heard from a Deputy Health Minister, if its anything to go by, then it means that when this $150 is reduced its going to help travelers a lot”, he added.
Earlier last week, a Deputy Health Minister, Bernard Okoe Boye, hinted of a likely reduction in the amount.
Dr. Okoe Boye indicated that negotiations based on economies of scale are far advanced with the firm carrying out testing at the Kotoka International Airport.
He added that government’s aim is not to make profit from travelers, but to help preserve the lives of the citizens of the country.
“Remember economies of scale. We anticipate that the numbers will go up with the festive season. We are trying to make some arguments and really you never know, it’s a private provider; but the motive is to help manage the pandemic. No element, no government official, not even the president has profit as a motive. The motive is to preserve lives and to protect our population.”
The Deputy Minister made the comments on the back of the Minority in Parliament’s questioning of the legality of the charge.
The Minority had earlier described the fee as illegal since it was not approved by the House.
After several months of non-operation, the President in his 16th national address on measures taken to control the spread of the Coronavirus, announced the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for international flights on September 1, 2020.
In order to ensure that no case is imported into the country, government put in place a number of guidelines.
Some of the directives demanded that disembarking passengers must wear face masks, while each passenger upon disembarking from the airplane, will undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport terminal at a fee to be borne by the passenger.
Passengers arriving in the country must also have a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours before their arrival in Ghana.