Ministry to engage Government for stimulus support for tourism industry.

By Kodjo
Adams, GNA

Accra, March 25, GNA – Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said the ministry would engage government
on a stimulus support system to cushion the tourism industry in the wake of the
COVID-19.

She said government recognised the immense
contribution of the industry to the economy and would put in place measures to
ensure that the sector does not suffer as a result of the pandemic.

The Minister announced this on Wednesday at a
stakeholders meeting in Accra to brainstorm how best to seek support from
government due to the effects of the disease on the sector.

The meeting brought together representatives from the
Ghana Tourism Federation which represent 23 institutions to chart the path
forward in addressing challenges faced by the industry.

The stakeholders has developed a proposal to the
Ministry on the effects of the disease on their operations and the Ministry
promised to engage the leadership of the Federation to President Akufo-Addo for
assistance.

This, the Minister explained was necessary because the
sector employs a huge number of people across the value chain sector for
socio-economic development.

She was optimistic that the engagement with the
President would yield positive results and explore ways of discussing with the
financial institutions to extend the payment of moratorium with the industry
players.

Mrs Gyasi commended the hotel industry for availing
their facility to government to be used as a quarantine centre, stressing that
their efforts had demonstrated love and service to humanity in this difficult
situation.

She urged members to register with the Federation for
a united front, priority would be given to groups affiliated or aligned with
the Federation.

Mrs Bella A. Ahu, President of the Federation appealed
to Government to grant its members incentives to compensate negative impact of
the pandemic on the industry, as confirmed cases in the country rise to 68.

“The Federation is seeking for subsidy in water
and electricity tariffs, suspension of taxes such as VAT, Tourism Levy,
National Health Insurance Levy, Property rate and Business Operating
Permit”, she said.

The Federation called for more stakeholder engagements
during and after the crisis and urged its members to stay calm and adhere to
the directives of the World Health Organisation and the Ghana Health Service.

Some of the members suggested the introduction of an
emergency levy to help the industry in times of global crisis.

A representative from the Airline industry said there
has been adjustment due to the pandemic, stating that individuals who have
bought ticket on their names could be allow to change the names.

Also the Airline system is flexible that the tickets
could be used as voucher for a longer period of time without expiry dates.

GNA