The President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike, has expressed his excitement over the gradual burgeoning of the hospitality industry, as it had been ill-fated with the entrance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attributing the steady growth of the industry to ongoing political campaigns and the easing of restrictions and travel bans, Dr. Ackah-Nyamike noted that, members of the Association remain hopeful to increased patronage.
“Feedback from our member hotels across the country points to steady growth occupancy rates and hosting of events and conferences. Some attribute it to the ongoing political campaign while some others attribute it to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and also to aggressive drive for domestic tourism by various groups and tour operators.
“We can only pray that the growth we are observing will continue. But we remain hopeful for further increase in patronage as we get closer to the end of the year. We also look forward to a positive response from the Finance Minister on the issues we raised with him at our October meeting with him. Unfortunately, we are yet to hear from him after a couple of follow-ups. Let me use this opportunity to entreat all Ghanaians to protect the peace of the country before during and after the December elections.”
The tourism sector took a big hit from the pandemic with a number of hotels and restaurants closing down while others laid off many of their staff.
It is estimated that as of June 2020, the sector had incurred losses running into $171 million as a result of the pandemic.
Prior to this, the Association had revealed that hotels in Ghana were being forced to lay off more workers.
Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamekeh, the President of the Association hinted that, this was as a result of their inability to access the GHC 1 billion stimulus package being rolled out to support businesses.
Members of the Association according to Dr. Ackah-Nyamekeh have indeed applied to benefit from the stimulus package being disbursed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), however hotels have not yet received any substantial response from the organization.
“Two months after the applications commenced, we are yet to receive anything and the two months after the applications means five months into the pandemic”.
He indicated that, the silence has exacerbated the plight of his members and has further pushed them over a financial cliff-edge as a dire consequence of the pandemic.
“We have been on the roof shouting but the excuse that we have been given is that they started with the micro businesses, those who requested for the GH¢1000 and the GH¢1500. They are also talking of the numbers that applied, hundreds of thousands and so they are having to move in phases”.
Contrarily, the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, explaining her stance on the matter, the NBSSI Executive Director further assured the Board’s resolve in working assiduously to effectively disburse funds to businesses in need.
“At the beginning of this program, we did mention to people that as much as possible, because of the size and the magnitude of the demand and also the size of funds we have, it will really be important if people applied once. As much as possible we will have to focus on how best it is that we deliver to as many people as possible”.
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