Coronavirus erodes Ghana’s 20 years gains made in tourism

The country needs to increase its vaccination drive to revive its tourism sector

The information available to Newsghana has it that gains made over the last two (2) decades in the tourism industry in Ghana were eroded whereas the global Travel and Tourism industry has been badly bruised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Ghanaian destination raked in US$3.3 billion with a total of 1.3 million tourists arrivals by the end of 2019 according to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).

However, the COVID-19 pandemic had reduced the gains made by two-thirds in 2020 and depressed the tourism value chain indicators.

The industry requires a re-set and overhaul and demands innovation, technology application, and concerted efforts to turn it around.

For Ghana to recover from the pandemic shocks, there is the need to increase the vaccination drive and to vaccinate two-thirds of the Ghanaian population for the development of “herd” immunity.

As the Travel and Tourism industry cannot return to pre-COVID-19 arrival levels until 2023 or later according to experts’ projection, domestic and regional tourism drive presents the only opportunity and, therefore, a magic wand to revolutionize and increase visitor numbers at the Ghanaian attractions.

Though the pandemic nosedived domestic tourism statistics from about 600,000 visitors in 2019 to about 200,000 in 2020, the expectations, relying on the current enthusiasm of Ghanaians to visit their country’s tourist sites, are that general visitations will increase to reduce the gap created by global travel restrictions.

There should be continuous use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and religiously monitored for compliance while hands washing, hand sanitizing, and social distancing should and must be regular practices.

The digitization of tourism products and services agenda by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC) and the Ghana Tourism Authority to increase domestic and international tourism should be vigorously pursued.

Rethinking the future of Ghana’s tourism should be considered through collective participation in tourism investment and financing to improve the resilience of the sector and take everyone on board.

Training for informal tourism practitioners is necessary for inclusive growth since service delivery is largely provided by the tourism private sector.

Another policy measure to revitalize the Ghanaian destination is the launch of the campaign, “Experience Ghana, Share Ghana” which was launched in June this year by the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mohammed Awal.

It was to build on the current “See, Eat, Wear, and Feel Ghana” and intended to accelerate the pace of tourism through a renewed focus on domestic visitations by the people living in Ghana