The Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has called on government to support the Association to make it mandatory for every hotel or hospitality facility to be registered with the Association to ensure uniformity in standards and practices.
According to Dr Edward Ackah Nyameke, President of the GHA, hotels provided sensitive services to the development of tourism and national development on the whole and therefore needed such legislation by government to ensure that every hotel was registered with the Association.
He said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had made it more clear the need for all hotels coming under one umbrella for easy monitoring and guidance as to the strict adherence to the safety and preventive protocols in a manner that supported government and national strategies in containing the spread of the disease.
The National President, made the call at the first National Executive Council meeting of the GHA in 2021 in Koforidua on the theme, “Resilience on the face of COVID-19” and was attended by representatives from all the regions to discuss pertinent issues relating to the sustenance of the industry, especially in the face of COVID-19.
He also called on government to as part of measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses to reduce certain mandatory regulatory fees if not suspend to cushion the Hotel industry, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Tourist Authority (GTA) and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) fees, as well as property rates for now.
The President explained that even though government had allowed the hotels to operate and they were grateful for that, occupancy rate in most of the hotels had dropped as low as five percent, yet recurrent expenditure of maintenance, power and security remained the same, placing a huge burden on the hotels.
He said “the year of return” brought a good fortune to the industry and based on that most hotels took loans to do capital projects such as expansion and capacity building, “and just when they started paying in 2020, COVID-19 hit and that has become a huge problem threatening the survival of many of our members”.
On the Stimulus package from government, Dr Nyamike indicated that they needed specific support in the payment of salaries and emoluments in order not to lay off staffs to add to the existing unemployment situation.
“About 48,000 jobs both direct and indirect have been lost in the hotel industry and to the best of our knowledge and records only eight hotels have benefited from that package”.
In a speech read on behalf of the Ghana Tourist Authority (GTA) at the opening, Mr Fredrick Adjei-Rudolf, Eastern Regional Director, announced that an initial assessment of the hospitality industry indicated that for the first quarter of the restrictions alone (March-June 2020) about 317 million dollars was lost due to halt in operations.
He said in recognition of this, the Ministry of Tourism under the Ghana Tourism Development project grant Scheme, had secured nine-million dollar funding from the International Development Association, to be disbursed to all facilities which qualified, to boost the tourism and destination development sites as well as tourism enterprise support systems within the value chain.