The Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana has lauded President Akufo-Addo’s recent announcement of a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 testing for all nationals of ECOWAS to $50.
In an interview with Citi Business News, Chief Executive Officer of the chamber, Prince Ntiamoah-Boampong stressed that a further reduction for all is imperative to revive the country’s ailing tourism industry.
“For a while now we, Tourism Industry Ghana have been complaining about the PCR test at the airport which is $150. We’ve done a lot of advocacy on this for a very long time. For us, we felt that it was on the high side for travellers especially tourists visiting the country. So if the Heads of Ecowas have met and have seen the wisdom in reducing it and capping it at 50 dollars for Ecowas nationals, I think it’s a step in the right direction. But we think more can be done. We’ve been saying this for a long time.”
He added that “Our COVID-19 case numbers are going up because the protocols were relaxed and as at the last update by the president, He wants to make it rigid again. But we think that the PCR test at the airport should be reduced because people without COVID-19 will still be travelling and to make ourselves more attractive, especially for people travelling to the African continent. People will still go on holidays, people are still doing their activities, trying to be careful in COVID-19 times. But, if you’re charging 150 dollars for testing for people to enter into your country, you can as well reduce it and help travellers, tourists and make your country attractive. ”
The president made the announcement following the 58th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on Saturday, January 23, 2021.
The fee however still stands at $150 for other nationals outside the sub-region. The tourism chamber has been at the forefront of calls for a reduction of the fee describing it as anti-tourism for the country.
The tourism industry has been one of the worse hit by the COVID-19 pandemic losing millions of dollars and causing a number of businesses in the sector to downsize and in extreme cases shut down completely.