The Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has called on stakeholders, particularly government, to work to salvage the hotel industry from collapsing.
“There is a decline in growth of 2.2 per cent of the number of guests that we get. There is ever rising cost in fuel and other utility bills. The industry is doing poorly than expected day in and day out, if nothing is done, it will collapse,” Mr Herbert Acquaye, National President of GHA, said.
Speaking at the Hotel Industry Conference held in Accra, Mr Acquaye said: “Most hotels in the country are doing very poor and that if we do not take time to ensure that the hotels survive, then most hotels will fold up and put more people on the streets.”
The theme for the conference was: “Challenges facing the Hotel Industry in Ghana: the Way Forward”, according to a GNA report.
Mr Acquaye explained that the hotel industry had also become a major source of taxation point for most public sector agencies where they generate revenue for their internally generated fund to run their activities.
He mentioned about 12 agencies, including Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Tourism Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, Immigration Service, Registrar General Department, Ghana National Fire Service, and the District Assemblies.
“Everybody thinks there is so much money in the hotel industry but I can tell you that most of us are operating at much a loss. Government should do more to help the industry,” Mr Acquaye stressed.
He said the conference was therefore organised to help generate new ideas that would enable service providers survive and stay in business in order to help sustain the economy.
It helped to find tangible solutions that would inform advocacy in developing the sector.
Mr Ralph Ayitey, General Manager of Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra, who spoke on: “Current economic and operational environment of the Hotel Industry” said as the fourth foreign exchange earner of the country, the industry now needs urgent attention and a push to save it from falling apart.
He said hotel operators were being pulled from all sides without being given the needed support that would enable operators to stay in business.
He explained that presently, there were no proper conference halls with the needed capacity in the country that could host major international conferences, which would in turn bring in visitors that would patronise the hotels.
“Government needs to put the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) and the National Theatre in proper shapes to attract international conferences”.
Both AICC and the National Theatre could host larger gatherings and meetings of international repute, when put into better shapes so we also can host the visitors that attend such meetings,” Mr Ayitey said.
Mr Yusuf Olek, General Manager of Alisa Hotel also known as Swiss Spirit Hotels and Suite Alisa, which hosted the conference, said currently the industry is bleeding.
“Doing hotel business in Ghana has become more challenging because most of the operators are not making the needed dividend,” he said.