President Akufo-Addo has unveilled a US$10million Tourism SMEs Grant to empower Small and Medium scale tourism enterprises across the country as part of government’s provision of an additional boost for businesses under the Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP).
The grant, according to the president, is expected to help operators in the sector modernise and improve tourist sites, restaurants, tour operations, event organisations and related businesses to become competitive.
Targetting some 1,500 SMEs this year, the funding is in three categories: namely COVID-19 Relief Support; SMEs Support; and Support for Tourist Site Upgrade.
As the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP after cocoa, oil and gas, tourism also accounts for every two out of ten jobs in Ghana.
This, the president said, calls for further support in an industry that has been at the forefront of creating employment for a chunk of the population.
“The grant is to bring additional support for sector players and businesses to further strengthen their operations after effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Indeed, the country’s tourism, hospitality and creative arts industry has been impacted most by the pandemic – whereby there was a 75 percent decline in international tourist arrivals in 2020 and a 45 percent reduction in 2021.
However, easing of restrictions and support for the sector by government is gradually enabling the industry to bounce back.
The president said Ghana remains committed to ensuring that the private sector functions efficiently, and building an ecosystem that creates opportunities for businesses to grow and create jobs for the youth is a key agenda for government.
“It is in this vein that government, through the Ministry of Tourism, is supporting SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector with a grant of US$10million this year to enhance and expand their business,” he said.
Last year, government equally disbursed US$10million to some 1,000 businesses in the sector as part of interventions to support SMEs under the sector.
World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Pierre Laporte, at the ceremony said the Ghana Tourism Development Project is one of the most impressive projects in the country over the past year.
He however said disbursement and utilisation of the grant has been only moderately satisfactory, but expressed confidence that this will be upgraded to satisfactory status.
Mr. Laporte said the World Bank will continue supporting the country in key sectors so as to help businesses fully recover from effects of the pandemic.
Tourism Minister Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal stated that government’s support for the sector remains unflinching, as has been evident in the number of interventions that the tourism industry received at the height of the pandemic and since then.
About the GTDP
The GTDP is a government project funded by the International Development Association (IDA) and World Bank Group. The Tourism Ministry is the project implementer.
The project’s objective is to improve tourism performance by upgrading tourism sites and developing the capacities of players in the sector to increase tourism revenues.