The Tourism, hospitality and arts sector has been hard hit by the Covid- 19 pandemic because it thrives on public gathering. The sector contributes significantly to the socio-economic growth and national development of many countries which Ghana is not an exception. Ghana is endowed with many natural attractions, rich cultural heritage, creative abilities and a naturally hospitable people, which contributes to the nation’s potential as a preferred tourist’s destination.
The tourism industry has made immense strides in 2019 with a successful implementation of the Year of Return Programme. International arrivals reached 1.13million, from 956,372 in 2018, a 27% growth which was above the global average of 5%. The average expenditure per tourist increased from $2,708 in 2018 to $2,931 in 2019.
The increased number of travelers to Ghana positively impacted private sector industries such as airlines, hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and art & crafts dealers amongst others.
For example, several hotels announced 100 % occupancy for the month of December, 2019. Artifact merchants also reported doubling their sales in 2019 compared to 2018 as well as car rental services registering increased patronage. However, the gains have been eroded by the Corona virus Pandemic.
In view of the devastating effect of the COVID-19, Government has introduced interventions to ameliorate its impact on business.
A stimulus package of Six Hundred Million Ghana Cedis through the NBSSI to the private sector to stimulate economic activities of SMEs affected by the COVID-19 as well as a 3 billion Ghana cedis facility for larger businesses has been introduced which operators in the sector will benefit from.
The Ministry under the Ghana Tourism Development Project, a world bank funded project, an amount of nine million dollars has been earmarked for interventions to boost the tourism industry- to be disbursed as follows:
Developing Tourism Sites and Destination – US$4m and US$5m for Tourism Enterprise Support Programme (Grant for SME Development).
The modalities for assessing this grant will be published soon.
His Excellency the President has also constituted an IMC to assess the impact on covid 19 on the Tourism and hospitality sector specifically and prepare a stimulus package to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, protect jobs and ensure the industry recovers post covid 19.
In order to further support the recovery of the Tourism and hospitality sector, the President in his 10th Address eased certain restrictions on the operations of the sector and we hereby provide the guidelines in that respect for compliance by all operations.