Tourism, arts and culture are critical resources any nation across the globe would explore for opportunities to catapult its socio-economic growth and national development of which Ghana is not an exception. Ghana is endowed in natural and artificial water bodies, relief features, natural attraction, rich cultural heritage, creative abilities and has a naturally hospitable people, which contribute to the nation’s potential as a preferred tourist’s destination.
The tourism industry began to shore up its strength in 2019 with a successful implementation of the Year of Return Programme, but for the untimely intrusion of the corona virus in March, 2020. International arrivals reached 1.13 million, from 956,372 in 2018, a 27% growth which was above the global average of 5%. The average expenditure per tourist increased from $2,708 in 2018 to $2,931 in 2019.
The receipts attributed to tourism is therefore $3,312 billion in 2019. The increased number of travelers to Ghana positively impacted private sector industries such as airlines, hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and art & crafts dealers to name but a few.
For example, several hotels announced 100 % capacity for the month of December, 2019. Art Centre merchants also reported doubling their sales in 2019 compared to 2018.
In view of the devastating effect of the COVID-19, Government has introduced several interventions to ameliorate its impact on the industry operators.
Government has introduced a stimulus package of Six Hundred Million Ghana Cedis through the NBSSI to the private sector to stimulate economic activities affected by the COVID-19.
Through the World Bank assistance funding to Ghana in terms of tourism under the Ghana Tourism Development Project, an amount of nine million dollars have been earmarked for interventions to boost the tourism industry – the breakdown is as follows
Component II – Developing Tourism Sites and Destination – US$4m
Component III – Tourism Enterprise Support Programme (Grant for SME Development) – US$5m
The modalities for assessing this grant will be published soon.
His Excellency the President has also constituted an IMC to assess the impact on covid 19 on the Tourism and hospitality sector specifically and prepare a stimulus package to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, protect jobs and ensure the industry recovers post covid 19. In order to further support the recovery of the Tourism and hospitality sector, the President in his 10th Address eased certain restrictions on the operations of the sector and we hereby provide the guidelines in that respect for compliance by all operations.
GHANA OUTLINES PROTOCOLS AND GUIDELINES FOR TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Ghana is currently rolling out phased approach towards lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The first of which was announced last Sunday in President Akufo-Addo’s address to the nation.
In this regard, government through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has set out measures and directives meant to guide the operations of hotels, organisation of events and other related business and activities to ensure the health and safety of both operators and patrons.
READ FULL PROTOCOLS BELOW:
Conferences, Awards, Workshops and Weddings
I. Display of “No Mask No Entry” signage and ensure that all patrons are wearing masks on entry. Event organizers may supply facemasks as souvenirs at entrances in case any person arrives without a face mask.
II. Enough Veronica buckets together with tissues and stand-alone sanitizer dispensers must be positioned strategically at venue entrances in a manner as to prevent queueing and crowding. People in a queue must stand at least a meter apart.
III. Strictly washing of hands before entering event venues.
IV. Ushers upon application of hand sanitizers at entrances shall escort guests to their seats
V. Observing strict social distancing of not less than 1 metre.
VI. Maximum of 50% of carrying capacity or 100 people per event
I. To critically observe social-distancing, tables usually designed for 10 chairs shall be reduced to 50% of the current seating capacity take (5 chairs).
II. MCs shall be required to initiate activities/demonstrations that touch on curtailing the spread of Covid-19.
III. As much as possible, PA facilities shall be required to provide at least two microphones: and carefully sanitized after each use.
IV. Use of hand sanitizers at the table should be encouraged.
V. Observing 1-meter distance between guests and at least 1-meter interval in between tables is recommended.
VI. Accredited individuals shall manage events only. i.e. corporate event houses and certified professionals by the associations or recognized professional bodies.
VII. All event organisers must be duly licensed by Ghana Tourism Authority.
VIII. All events shall be time constrained so as not keep guests for too long.
IX. There shall be the presence of a designated health and safety liaison person amongst the organisers.
I. Venues shall conform to regulatory standards.
II. Venues must have adequate space and covid 19-friendly washrooms.
III. Washrooms at venues should now have stand by janitors to clean and disinfect after each visit during an event.
IV. Venues will have to ensure or arrange for uninterrupted supply of services such as water.
Food and Drinks
I. To avoid movement and contact, plates can be placed on guests’ tables in the course of the program so guests can pick their plates for buffets and be served by caterer and staff.
II. Guests can make their cocktail and drink requests through hand-gloved-wearing waiters and cocktails can be served with disposable cups within the venue
Food and Beverage (Restaurants , Chop Bars, Snack Bars)
All Food and Beverage establishments (Restaurants, chop bars, Highway Rest Stops, Fast Foods, Coffee/Tea Shops, Snack Bars, may operate with the following guidelines;
I. Display of “No Mask No Entry” signage and ensure that all patrons are wearing masks on entry.
II. Provision of soap and running water and hand sanitisers/disinfectant gels with paper towel at public areas. Guests should be reminded when entering and leaving to wash their hands or disinfect their hands with disinfectant gel, preferably located at the entrance to those facilities.
III. Limit the number of guests for dining to 50% of current carrying capacity of the restaurant to ensure adequate spacing for seating and to maintain social distancing of at least 1 metre.
IV. Regular disinfection of surfaces. Where use of bleach is not suitable, e.g. telephone, remote control equipment, door handles, buttons in the elevator, etc. then alcohol-based sanitisers (70% and above) must be used.
V. Buffet style of service (if necessary) must limit communal handling of serving cutlery.
VI. When necessary, change tongs and ladles more frequently, always leaving these items in separate containers.
VII. Clean and disinfect the buffet surfaces after each service.
VIII. Wearing of mask and protective wear by kitchen staff.
IX. Kitchen staff must wash hands with soap and running water frequently (maximum every 15mins.) and dispose of used paper towel in a lined bin immediately.
On reopening of tourist sites, the Ghana Tourism Authority is set to engage operators on the way forward.
Night clubs and drinking bars remain closed.