The Ghana Tourism Authority has revealed that the international tourist numbers that came into the country in 2020 decreased by almost 70% percent.
The decrease has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Citi Business News, Acting Director of Public Affairs at the Ghana Tourism Authority, Nelson Jones explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the sector globally.
“The numbers reduced from 1.1 million to 355,108, so there has been a loss of 69%. This has affected the sector badly because when people travel in, the hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions will benefit. But now things aren’t moving on. The issue is because of the increase in the COVID-19 numbers. Some of these hospitality enterprises had to close down, and it has affected the industry a lot worldwide and not just Ghana.”
In 2019, the government as part of its tourism boosting agenda launched the Year of Return program targeted at persons in the diaspora.
One of the main goals of the Year of Return campaign was to position Ghana as a key travel destination for African Americans and the African Diaspora. In 2019, the events planned throughout the year were to serve as a launchpad for a consistent boost in tourism for Ghana in the near and distant years.
This resulted in over a million tourists visiting the country that year.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s air borders were closed for about half the year in 2020.
This caused the numbers of tourist visits to reduce to just about 300,000.
The tourist industry has been one of the worst-hit since the outbreak of the pandemic losing millions of dollars in the process.
This is particularly because the sector has international tourists as a major client so the closure of the country’s borders meant losing a large chunk of their revenues.
A number of them were under the circumstance compelled to downsize their staff numbers while others closed down entirely.