The Chamber for Tourism is calling for urgent stimulus package – tax cuts and tax delays for businesses in the tourism sector to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

The Chamber is, therefore, calling for a consultation meeting between all interested parties including the Ministry of Finance, on what should be done in the short, medium and long term.

In a statement, the Chamber for Tourism said “While finding medical solutions to the problem, we must have a consultative meeting between all interested parties including the Ministry of Finance, on what should be done in the short, medium and long term.

This will include but not limited to tax cuts or tax delays; how much and for what period of time. A proper research done on job losses and a possible government programme that will support them in the interim.”

The Chamber is also calling for a “dialogue on using some hotels as centres at a subsidized fee to keep them running… Government through the Exim bank should set some supporting fund aside, with a less than 3 per cent interest to support the sector revive once more.”

Following the Year of Return in 2019 and Beyond the Return, which was expected to solidify the gains in 2020, the advent of COVID 19 has virtually eroded some of the gains made.

The tourism sector’s 4th foreign exchange earner position is also threatened, thus also affecting government revenue.

“While we wait for the Coronavirus curve to flatten and decline, we eventually need to look at how to improve the digital environment in the sector… A proper road map for pushing domestic tourism in the interim as we drive international tourism,” the statement added.

With the increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ghana, the government is under pressure to announce a lockdown. A lockdown could have severe repercussions for the Ghanaian economy hence the call by the Chamber for Tourism for a stimulus package for the tourism sector.

Ghana now has 132 coronavirus cases, with three reportedly dead.

Several calls

Earlier, the President of the Ghana Hotels Association said a stimulus package by the government is very crucial as some hotels are on the verge of collapse.

Dr Edward Nyameke Jnr. said this is due to the occupancy problem that has arisen as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

According to him, the outbreak has the potential of shutting down many hotels in the country.