Mole National Park has lost 83.5 percent of its international tourist visits to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Four months before the park closed from November 2019 to February 2020, there were 1, 715 international visits.

Four months after the reopening of the park between August 2020 and November 2020, only 283 international visits were recorded.

This represents 16.5 percent of what was recorded between November 2019 and February 2020.

The decline in international tourists could be attributed to the closure of most international borders.

Mole National Park loses 83.5 percent of its international tourist visits to Covid-19 over a four-month period

This is according to recent research published by park officials.

Part of the research paper said, “We just reopened the facility and people are still a bit skeptical about visiting the place. The number of foreign clients from overseas has been low since we reopened. This is because the international borders have not been fully opened. We hope the numbers will pick up with time.”

The research reports a similar trend by the Mole Motel, Zaina Lodge, and Belgha Bar and Hostel, all in the Savannah region.

Mole National Park loses 83.5 percent of its international tourist visits to Covid-19 over a four-month period

As accommodation and catering facilities, many of their clients were often foreigners. All three facilities reported that they were fully booked from January to December 2020.

The research quoted Mole Motel official saying, “We had a fantastic year in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 was superb! We recorded an average daily occupancy rate of 71%, compared to the previous years’ (2018) rate of 60%. The year ahead looked promising until Covid struck. Clients started calling in and sending emails requesting to cancel their bookings. We lost a lot of potential revenue as a result. The pandemic has had a huge impact not only on the declining numbers of our clients but huge financial impacts as well.”

Mole National Park loses 83.5 percent of its international tourist visits to Covid-19 over a four-month period

The research paper titled, ‘Tourism amid Covid-19 pandemic: Impacts and Implications for Building Resilience in the Eco-Tourism Sector in Ghana’s Savannah Region’ was published on August 31, 2021 by Ophelia Soliku, Bona Kyiire, Ali Mahama, and Chrysantus Kubio.

It captured sentiments of various workers across the Savannah region especially those in tourist activities.

In Larabanga, aside from the celebration of the Fire and Damba festivals as well as commercial activities, there has also been a decline in social activities.

Mole National Park loses 83.5 percent of its international tourist visits to Covid-19 over a four-month period

Residents of Mognori, however, have experienced no decline in social activities and their daily routines and social lives remain unchanged. It was the perception of residents that Covid-19 affects just the big cities.

“The fact that Mognori did not record a decline in social activities could be attributed to the fact that the police that enforced the ban on social gatherings were absent in most rural communities such as Mognori,” the research says.

The study highlights some immediate measures as well as medium to long term measures that could help improve eco-tourism and make it resilient in the face of the present crisis and future ones.

The research recommends immediate measures such as stimulus and severance packages be given to local SMEs by the government. 

Mole National Park loses 83.5 percent of its international tourist visits to Covid-19 over a four-month period

Hospitality management must enforce Covid-19 safety protocols in their facilities and restructure their services in the wake of the prevailing circumstances. 

In the long term, the study recommends diversifying the local economy and promoting domestic tourism in the country. 

This, it says, requires a combination of government and non-governmental support to local people and enterprises in the form of skill training as well as financial support to develop alternative livelihood sources.

Public education, advertisement and promotions are also recommended to boost interest in domestic tourism.