Ghana lost an estimated tourism revenue of US$171 million in a space of four months – from March to June, because of the global novel coronavirus pandemic.
The revenue loss followed the closure of the country’s borders to human traffic, a measure taken by the government to prevent the importation of the virus.
Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, made this known at a media briefing to provide details of the easing of restrictions on the tourism sector, in Accra.
She put the total revenue from tourist arrivals, in the year 2019, at US$3.312 billion. In all, 1.13 million foreign tourists visited the country.
A survey conducted by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) showed that each tourist spent not less than US$2,931 on accommodation, car rental services, food and attendance of entertainment events or concerts during the ‘Year of Return’.
She announced the allocation of US$4 million dollars towards the development of tourism sites and information, this year, alongside US$5 million for tourism enterprise support.
Mrs Oteng Gyasi said, operators in the tourism and hospitality industry, could apply for support from the GHS600 million COVID-19 Alleviation Programme, meant for micro, small and medium scale enterprises, and is disbursed by the National Business for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).
They could also access the GHS3 billion, provided by selected commercial banks as well as the US$9 million support by the World Bank under the Ghana Tourism Project.
The Minister underlined the determination of her Ministry to do more to develop domestic tourism and urged operators and owners of hotels and motels to reduce their rates and charges to boost local patronage.