Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in-charge of Operations, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has said the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on tourism growth, job creation, and livelihood of communities that depended on tourism.
He said in 2019, tourism generated ¢3.3 billion with a total of 1.1 million tourist arrivals but was sharply depressed with the advent of COVID-19 to 355,108 arrivals in 2020 with a
receipt of $387.1 million.
“Tourist arrivals and receipts figures declined by 68.5 percent and 88.3 per cent respectively.”
Mr Ekow revealed this in a speech on behalf of Mr Akwasi Agyeman, GTA CEO during the 2021 UNWTO World Tourism Day celebration in Wli on the theme: “Tourism for inclusive growth.”
“The theme is apt as the tourism industry is gradually recovering from the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is time for us all to essentially take stock and highlight a participatory approach to creating and sharing tourism wealth for poverty reduction, decency in living standards, and livelihoods security.”
He said the average tourist expenditure which stood at 2,931 dollars also declined sharply to 1,090 dollars which was 64 percent in 2020.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer said tourism globally was the most affected economic activity in the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing restrictions to mobility.
“According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2021 report, Travel and Tourism GDP Which accounted for 10.4 per cent in 2019, declined to 5.5 per cent in 2020.
“There were 62 million job losses in 2020 from 334 million jobs in 2019, it declined rapidly to 272 million jobs in 2020.”
He noted that Small Scale and Medium Enterprises (SME’S), which contributed 80 per cent of all global businesses in the tourism sector, were particularly affected.
Mr Ekow noted that as the world as the Travel and Tourism Industry could not return to pre-Covid arrival levels until 2023 as predicted by the UNWTO and WTTC, domestic tourism presented an opportunity for sustaining tourism growth.
“It is said that “charity begins at home” therefore the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with its implementing Agency, the Ghana Tourism Authority in collaboration with the private sector, Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) as well as all the Trade Associations initiated the Domestic Tourism campaign,
“Experience Ghana, Share Ghana” to whip up interest in domestic tourism to enable Ghanaians to appreciate the tourism, hospitality, arts, and culture potential and engender cross-cultural exchange amongst themselves as a people.”
He said since Dr Mohammed Awal, Sector Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, assumed office in spite of the disruptive times of the COVID -19 era, he had been keen on promoting domestic tourism and showcasing the same across 10 Regions he visited so far.
“Due to the pandemic, domestic tourism statistics dropped from about 669,000 visitors in 2019 to about 200,000 in 2020.”
He said the expectations were that, relying on the current domestic tourism campaign and the enthusiasm of Ghanaians to visit most of the country’s tourist sites and attractions, general visitations would increase to reduce the gap created by global travel restrictions.
Togbe Ametornu IV, Divisional Chief of Wli Agorviefe, on behalf of Togbega Lo I, Paramount Chief of Wli Traditional Area, said the Area was grateful to host the 2021 World Tourism Day celebration in Ghana.