Operators in the country’s tourism and hospitality sector say they are expecting an intervention by government when the regulator, the Ghana Tourism Authority, completes an economic impact assessment of the COVID-19 on their operations.
The coronavirus has not only slowed economic activities due to restricted movements, but has also led to some redundancies across sectors including the tourism and hospitality.
In the US for instance, weekly jobless claims has risen to 3.28 million as coronavirus causes mass layoffs.
In Ghana, the managers of top hotels like Accra City have confirmed to Citi Business that they have had to lay-off some casual workers following a drop in revenue due to low patronage.
The Ghana Hotels Association has called for a stimulus package for its members to remain in business.
They say the continuous imposition of some operational levies despite the impact of the pandemic continues to erode the meager profits they are making.
This has led to a lot of engagements with institutions like the Ghana Tourism Authority to assess the impact and proffer recommendations to government for action.
Deputy CEO of the Chamber for Tourism, Prince Ntiamoah Boampong, says they expect a favourable response soon.
“The Ministry of Tourism together with the GTA is working on a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the sector. As a result, they have called for proposals comprising the impact of utility tariffs, bank loans, layoffs, among others. After completing their work, they will present it to the government to act on it and provide the stimulus package that will be needed,” he said.
Mr. Boampong added that in the interim, more jobs are being affected at a faster rate, hence the need for the state to speed up its support.
“Casual workers went as far back as last week and as at Wednesday [March 25, 2020], we have had reports of some permanent staff being served with letters to proceed on leave without pay. They are to resume only after the situation normalizes which no one knows when.”
He added that, “For now, most of the major hotels are like ghost facilities and what is keeping some of them is that they have been used as holding centres for the mandatory quarantine exercise being carried out by the government.”
As at Thursday, March 26, 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Ghana stood at 132, with one recovery and three deaths.
The Chamber for Tourism believes that resolving the challenges confronting their members should help in sustaining the contribution of the tourism sector as the 4th foreign exchange earner for the country.
Restaurant operators call for gov’t support to stay in business as COVID-19 hits hard
As the economic impact of the COVID-19 widens across many sectors and businesses, some operators of Restaurants in the national capital, Accra, say their activities have been severely hampered as they’re unable to host large numbers of people.
Operators are thus calling on government to offer them some relief such as a reduction in utility tariffs.
by Pius Amihere Eduku