The Ghana Tourism Authority is projecting a strong pick up of the Tourism sector even before the of this year.

This is based on some initial numbers that the Authority is getting following the easing of restrictions and opening of the Kotoka International Airport for international travels.

Speaking on Business Trends on Thursday, Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Aygemang noted that based on some engagements with players in the sector and initial numbers that the Authority was picking up, things could stabilize very soon.  

The PM EXPRESS discussion looked at 'TOURISM SECTOR RECOVERY: Reopening of Airport. The show also brought together the Managing Director of Adansi Travel and Tours, Gideon Asare and Executive Manager of the Labadi Beach Hotel, David Eduful.  

“We have checked with some of the hotels and realized that bookings made for December 2020 have not been cancelled,” the Tourism Authority Boss added, as he maintained that things will pick up strongly in the coming months.

Tourism sector players and Expectation post KIA opening for international travels

Speaking on the same program, the Managing Director of Adanse Travel and Tours Gideon Asare noted that the opening of Kotoka International Airport for International Travels has seen some of its clients, move fast to make payment for earlier bookings  “for the first time since March this year, I saw all my staff come to the office and they were smiling because of the KIA re-opening for international travels".

Mr Asare noted they had always been optimistic about the Airport opening when the active cases started reducing, “this actually influenced our engagement with some clients to book in advance”.

The Executive Manager of Labadi Beach Hotel, David Eduaful, described the opening as a psychological boost to the industry “for us we can describe this move as the step in the right direction”.

He noted that the most important thing that most people who booked with our hotels did not cancel their trips, but with the re-opening, most of these firms and businesses have reactivated their bookings.

Opening up of the Tourism Sector

The Chief Executive of Ghana Tourism Authority noted that they are still engaging players in the industry, together with the Medical Advisors on the right time to open these venues, which we have been told that, it will be based on data and science. This will ensure that managers of the economy will not be forced to shut down the economy again after opening it up.  

Virtual Engagement with Tourism Sector players and patrons

Mr Agyeman noted that there have been some tourism programs had been carried out during this Covid-19 times, but on a virtual basis, while in some cases we had strict social distancing. He maintained that all these are aimed to help bring back the interest in the country and returning to normal life which will go a long way to boost tourism.

Status of the stimulus package and financial support for players in the hospitality sector

Some players in the tourism industry have complained about being sidelined in recent financial support for businesses in the country.

But speaking on PM Express the Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority noted that the National Board for Small Scale Industry is working to release the second round of funds that should cover those in the tourism sector.

He also announced that the disbursement of the Tourism Development Bank should commence in the coming weeks, adding that all these funds should aid the quick recovering of the sector.

Boosting Tourism in Ghana and Easing restrictions 

The Tourism Authority boss noted they are currently engaging organizers, of the some of the major events in Ghana to see how the organization will be done, AFROCHELLE, TINA conference, AFRONATION, this is because “ if you look at the data, it was clear that a lot of people come into the country because of these events”.  

He added that “the Afrochelle program will come on this year because it’s a 10-year contract, what we are trying to do is how it can be done under COVID-19 protocols”.

Mr Agyeman announced that they also have a National Task Force in place to ensure that players in the hospitality industry are complying with the strict health protocols.

Introduction of E-Visa and increasing international carriers flying out of Accra

Mr Agyeman also disclosed that they are working to introduce E-Visa by the end of the year.

“We have come very far with this and very soon the advert will out as part of the broader tourism project”.

He also revealed that there are in discussions with Barbados on flights to Ghana. This is because to help with the growing interest of some Ghanaians in their activities.

They are also working with other governments and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority on increase the number of International Airlines flying of the Kotoka International Airport. The Ghana Tourism Authority is also working with other players in the industry to help improve training in the sector as well.

Is Accra an expensive city?

Executive Assistant Manager at Labadi Beach Hotel also noted that in the country’s quest to improve tourist arrivals, one thing that needs to be dealt with is the cost of doing business in the country and even taxes and levies.  

But speaking on the same program, Chief Executive Ghana Tourism Authority noted that government was working to address some of these by improving on the infrastructure leading to tourist sites and areas.

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