Barbara Oteng-Gyasi - Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts
Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry after careful observation are expected to record a loss of revenue costing about $171 million due to the adverse impact of the coronavirus within four months.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi. Speaking at the Information Ministry’s press briefing in Accra on Thursday, June 4, 2020, the Minister noted that:
“From an assessment that was done between March and June, it was indicated that the operators both formal and informal, were going to register losses of about 171 million dollars over the period, but importantly government recognizes the importance of the sector to the economy; the contribution to the economy in terms of revenue generation as well as job creation, and it is not in the interest of government that we register job losses in the sector.”
Ghana’s tourism is one of the sectors hit greatly since the outbreak of COVID-19. The sector is projected to create about a million jobs while contributing about 6.2 per cent to Ghana’s GDP. The sector’s largest income is derived mainly from foreigners who visit the country’s tourist sites.
However, the sector is experiencing a rapid drop in demand, causing an increase in job losses. Some analysts have predicted that revenue from the sector will continue to dip a little longer due to the closure of Ghana’s borders.
While addressing issues, the Minister, Oteng-Gyasi said President Akufo-Addo has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. This will allow the government to come up with a stimulus package for struggling businesses within the industry.
“Recognizing the importance of the tourism and hospitality sector to the economy, His Excellency the President has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to look specifically at the sector and come up with a proposed stimulus package to support the industry to alleviate the hardship during this very difficult period and make sure that it recovers post-COVID-19,” she said.
“That exercise is also going on with what we have done in the initial report. We are engaging more with the ICUs of the various hotels because government is interested in ensuring that we do not lose jobs in the sector. They are also coming up with proposals and we will make sure that we submit to government to put in place a stimulus package specifically for the tourism and hospitality industry,” she added.
What measures have been put in place so far?
The Minister, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi has, however, announced that the government has secured a $9 million facility from the World Bank under the Tourism Development Project, to strengthen the industry. This will form part of measures to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on the tourism and hospitality sector.
Year of Return injected $3.3bn into Ghana’s economy
In responding to questions in Parliament on Thursday, May 28, 2020, the Minister, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi announced that the Year of Return initiative accumulated $3.3 billion in tourism receipts. Adding that the average expenditure per tourist was $2,391.
She also said the government intends building on the Year of Return initiative, which will be Beyond the Year of Return.