In order for the tourism and hospitality industry to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ghana Hotels Association believes a lot of attention has to be given to local tourism in the country.
The sector has been one of the worst-hit since the outbreak of COVID-19 losing millions of dollars.
President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike believes the government has a major role to play in boosting local tourism in order to sustain their businesses.
“Where we still have the COVID-19 issue, certainly international visits to Ghana will reduce drastically as we are witnessing now. So then the next option is to look within. And over the years we’ve placed some premium on international travels and visits to the detriment of domestic tourism. This is the time to revive domestic tourism. This is the time for you and me to find some fun in visiting other areas, leave our comfort zone, go to the various tourism or historical sites in Ghana and pay something small to the tourism and hospitality industry for that sector to also survive. This is the time for government, agencies or ministries to give some incentives to workers. When you get your leave what do you do? You should be able to move out and go somewhere, relax and take the family along. That is how we will survive as an industry”.
Recent data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicates that the services sector saw a growth rate of negative 2.6%, while the hotels and restaurants sub-sector sectors recorded contractions by 74.9 per cent, representing 0.8 per cent of GDP.
As of June last year, the tourism and hospitality sector was recorded to have incurred losses running into $171 million as a result of the pandemic.
Ghana’s international airspace was opened to travel in September after it was shut down as part of preventive measures, which meant an increase in visits into the country by tourists who are the main customers of tourist sites in the country.
The Ghana Hotels Association had earlier indicated that the Yuletide brought some respite to its members after enduring the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses. And with talks of a vaccine tourist confidence is being restored, however very slowly.