Prime News Ghana

COVID 19 and Ghana's Tourism Sector

By Mutala Yakubu

The world has gone into a recession, faced with an unprecedented challenge of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been defined as a novel that was first identified during an outbreak of respiratory illness in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

To control the spread, most affected countries are enforcing lockdown measures and border controls, which has culminated into a slow run of the world economy.

It is with no doubt that millions of jobs are at risk and businesses face a possible shut down due to the continuous spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the hardest hits sectors of this pandemic is the tourism sector.  The world over and for decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world according to the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress and today, the business of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products and automobiles). Tourism today has become one of the major players in international commerce and a main source of income for many developing countries.

This has produced economic and employment benefits all over the world and in many related sectors- agriculture, construction, telecommunication. Etc

In Ghana, the tourism sector has significantly contributed to the growth of the country’s economy especially in recent times as the sector continues to demonstrate its potential as a key economic driver of growth.

The tourism sector without doubt remains the fastest growing sector, and the third largest foreign exchange earner after merchandise exports and remittances from abroad (Ministry of Tourism-Ghana).

The organization of the Year of Return 2019 has been a major boost for the sector and the economy. The 10year plan - Beyond the Return, which is yet to be fully rolled out, is to further boost the sector and make Ghana the centre of attraction in the coming years.

But the industry is faced with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism activities are best undertaken and experienced at the destinations but now under threats due to lockdown measures from countries which have been impacted greatly by the pandemic. As a developing country, how prepared are we to strategically avert the dangers posed by this pandemic to one of the viable sectors in the country?

It is important to note as a country that the digital age is highly imminent, and this is the time we ought to prepare to take advantage of the major shift and position ourselves for the recovery and post recovery process to restore our glorious days. This is the time to get creative and innovative with our ideas in order to save our small start-ups and remain in business. Let us rethink possibilities.

By:DELALI KOTOKA