Ghana is likely to record a 64% drop in the number of international tourists travelling into the country by the end of the year.
This is according to figures and projections made available by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
In 2019 the country received a total of 1.1 million international tourists, however as at October 2020, the country had received a total of three hundred thousand international tourists, a number that is expected to jump to four hundred thousand by the end of 2020.
Tourist activities in the country are heightened during the Christmas period.
The tourism sector has however suffered a major setback since the outbreak of COVID-19 this year.
The tourism industry which is the fourth highest exchange earner for the country saw a major boost last year with campaigns such as the Year of Return, recording a total of 1.1 million international tourists.
Plans to project the country’s tourism sector even further this year through the Beyond the Return campaign and other initiative were dashed with the emergence of COVID-19 causing many countries including Ghana to close its borders for months.
Airlines, tour operators, travel agents, attraction sites, car hire, restaurants and hotels have all been adversely impacted with some of these businesses collapsing and others losing their jobs.
The Ghana Tourism Authority, however, says it has collaborated with the Ghana Events Organizers Association to roll out a number of events which will boost tourism during this Christmas period while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.
Events are expected to push the number of international tourist arrivals to beyond four hundred thousand before the year ends.
In an interview with Citi Business News on the sidelines of the launch of the December in Ghana Events 2020, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Kwesi Agyemang said his the collaboration between his outfit and the Ghana Events Organizers Association will boost the international tourist figures recorded in the country so far.
“We worked with the events organizers association of Ghana to come out with the protocols that were the first step in ensuring that we ease restrictions on events the next step was to make sure that the COVID-19 protocols are also in place, and so we have been working with them on what needs to be done with each”.
“We don’t have all the number because there are several other sectors that have not been mentioned properly like the domestic tourism but in terms of international arrivals, I will use that as a proxy so for example last year we did 1.1 million as of October this year we have done three hundred thousand. So that should tell you the difference, but we are hopeful that in this last month we can move into the four hundred thousand barrier and if we can a bit more that it is still good because six months of the year was lost to COVID. It’s been tough, but we have also shown resilience”.
The GTA launched the December in GH campaign to create an experience that will focus on showcasing Ghana as a global destination for the Christmas and New Year celebration with events highlighting Ghana’s unique role as an epicenter for culture and entertainment.
It will involve a series of activities from December 17, 2020, to January 3, 2021, cutting across a wide range of both outdoor, indoor, hybrid and virtual events.
Meanwhile, Deputy CEO of GTA in charge of Operations, Mr Ekow Sampson, indicated that the initiative was a new tourism product expected to drive people into the country.
He said it would complement the flagship programmes of the GTA, namely WearGhana, EatGhana and FeelGhana, to showcase Ghana’s attractions, cuisines and customs.
Some of the events slated include a trade exhibition at the Accra Digital Centre, Alte Bar at Untamed Empire, Sound Out- The Premium Art Exhibition at the Grand Arena, Accra International Conference Center, among others.