The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) must outline a comprehensive sanitation and hygiene programme for adoption by players in the tourism sector, especially hotels in an anticipation of easing of restrictions, an Associate Professor at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ishmael Mensah has said.
He said easing up of some of the restrictions, constituted the initial stages of the recovery processes, however, players within the entire tourism value-chain must be in readiness and the GTA must lead the way.
“Even though the GTA issued a directive to hotels to institute sanitation and hygiene measures at their facilities earlier; the directive did not clearly spell out which protocols should be put in place,” he emphasised.
Prof. Mensah who is also the Ghana Director of Confucius Institute, UCC made the call in an interview with the Ghanaian Times here on yesterday.
He said, the authority must for instance clearly spell out how housekeeping should be carried out at the hotels during this period as well as offer constant training for housekeepers.
Prof. Mensah explained that in the event that a tourist contracts the virus in a hotel or there was a spread of the virus in a particular hotel, it would not only affect the image of the hotel but the entire country.
“This will seriously dent the image of the country and also affect the recovery process of the sector,” he said.
He was speaking on effective recovery of the tourism sector after the COVID-19 pandemic that had affected the world.
The pandemic had led to a slump in the fortunes of businesses including the tourism sector.
The International Tourism Organisation had predicted a reduction of revenue from the sector as well as laying-off of workers within the industry as a result of the COVID-19.
Prof. Mensah further stated the need for the GTA to ensure that all hotels and guest houses followed safety protocols and also maintained a hygienic environment in their facilities to address the challenge of possible infection.
He indicated that, car rentals, restaurants, and taxis among others should be made to follow the required standards and sanitation protocols at all times in order to minimise the spread of the virus.
He called on the GTA to close down all hotels and guesthouses across the country that had not gone through the required registration process.
“The law has to be followed to the latter in ensuring that the right thing is done in the sector by all industry players” he said.
Prof. Mensah urged all stakeholders within the tourism sector to collaborate with the GTA in ensuring the growth of the sector in the country.