The Northern Regional Office of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has said negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the closure of 82 hotels and accommodation units by management of those facilities due to low patronage.
The resultant effect of the closures, according to the GTA, has negatively affected tourism in the Northern Region and had led to job losses in the tourism value chain.
“Despite the challenges since last year, significant efforts have been made and the sector is gradually being revamped through the numerous policy implementations and grant support to sector players,” the Northern Regional Manager for the GTA, Alhaji Hakeem Ismail, told the B&FT.
Mr. Ismail, who was speaking at the commemoration of this year’s World Tourism Day celebration by the Northern and Upper West Regional offices, said the Northern Region is considering the new direction and refocusing on many initiatives including the use of festivals and cultural events to promote tourism in the region.
The initiatives, he said, will help revamp the sector and aid the progress of tourism-related activities to create jobs for the people.
The GTA, he said, is accordingly liaising with the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and Forestry Commission to establish a zoo in the metropolis.
Also, plans and discussions are advanced with traditional authorities in the region to establish a museum at Yendi; to help preserve the people’s cultural heritage and attract tourists to the area.
While the two regions have started building the capacity of industry players and encouraging private sector investment in the area, the Northern Region is as using its numerous tourist attractions very well to leverage its potentials.
The Upper West Regional Director of the GTA, Moses Ndewin Ndebugri, said the region has lots of tourism potentials that need to be harnessed for economic growth; and therefore he encouraged the public to patronize the region’s various tourist attractions.
This year’s World Tourism Day event was on the theme ‘Tourism for inclusive growth, which offered various tourism industry players an opportunity to showcase products and services with the aim of attracting global attention.
In Ghana, the event was characterized by a national durbar organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the GTA at Hohoe in the Volta Region.
The United Nations World Tourism Day celebration is marked on September 27 each year, to create awareness among the international community on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political, and economic impact worldwide.