The Tourism and Hospitality Industry has incurred losses running into $171million as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sector Minister, Barbara Oteng Gyasi at a press briefing in Accra yesterday revealed that the amount was for the period March to June this year, due to lack of operations.
“The initial assessment we undertook indicates that for the first four months of the restrictions between March and June 2020, we are going to have a loss of about $171million registered to the industry because of the lack of operations.”
“As we go forward and do further assessment we can analyse the full impact of COVID-19 on the sector and as government gives support to industry players, we hope to minimise this effect to some extent,” she said.
Ms Gyasi who recalled the significant boost the industry witnessed in 2019 as compared to previous years due to initiatives rolled out in the sector, lamented the strain COVID-19 had brought on such gains.
“The increased number of travellers into the country last year positively impacted the industry. Several of our hotels registered 100 per cent occupancy, the arts and crafts dealers doubled their sales in 2019 compared to 2018, car rentals also had increased patronage but these gains have been eroded by the pandemic.”
The Minister indicated that as part of efforts to put the industry back on its feet, players will have the opportunity to benefit from government’s GH¢3 billion and GH¢600 million facilities to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic on businesses.
“Also, the Ministry under the Ghana Tourism Development Authority/World Bank funded project has earmarked an amount of $9 million to boost the tourism industry and this will be disbursed $4 million dollars to tourism and destination development sites and $5 million to tourism enterprise support systems within the value chain,” she indicated.
Ms Gyasi submitted that an inter-ministerial committee had been instituted to assess impact of the pandemic on the tourism and hospitality sector and propose a stimulus package to alleviate its effect while protecting jobs and ensuring a complete recovery of the industry post COVID-19.
Working within the current restrictions, the Minister disclosed that her outfit was working on a programme to improve domestic tourism as the country’s borders remain closed.
“There isn’t going to be more incoming international travel during this period. We don’t anticipate any significant improvement in international travel until the end of this year so, for this year, our agenda is to improve domestic tourism.
We want to push our “See Ghana, Wear Ghana, Eat Ghana agenda and we believe that Ghanaians will buy into it and let us travel to see and fall in love with our country as we live the new normal.”
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH