Hospitality industry courts gov’t support

Giselle van As, the General Managers of Fiesta Residences, has called for more government support for the hospitality industry to enable it meet increasing demand for world-class services in the country.

“We have got constant price increases and instability of rates. We can talk as much as we want about how to grow the sector as hotel managers, but we need support from the authorities. We need support from the Ghana Tourism Authority and support from government not to increase the levies all the time. We want to become a sustainable business in Accra,” she said.

The depreciation of the cedi against major trading currencies over the past two years, has led to constant price increases in hotel rates, as prices are benchmarked against the dollar. The constant review of rates has not gone down well with many business and leisure travellers.

The cedi has performed poorly with a year-to-date change of some 18 percent. The cedi now trades against the greenback at GH¢3.7842 as at close of trading on Friday.

The earlier positive performance was largely attributed to a favourable review the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave the country in its first appraisal of the 3-year funded programme.

The Bank of Ghana’s decision to pump US$20million daily into the market also served to stem the local currency’s rate of fall.

The Ghana Museum and Monuments Board lists Forts and Castles along the coast of Ghana from Beyin in the Western Region to Keta in the Volta Region, including those in ruins, and the ten remaining Asante Traditional Buildings in and around Kumasi in the Ashanti Region as UNESCO Listed World Heritage Properties in Ghana.

Six other sites are also on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Properties. These include the Kakum National Park, Mole National Park, Navrongo Catholic Cathedral, Nzulezu Stilt Settlement, the Tengzug-Tallensi settlements, and Trade Pilgrimage Routes of North-Western Ghana.

“There is so much potential here. People have said that as more hotels come on-stream there will be more competition, and competition is always healthy; but we need to be able to show that the support structures are in place to help businesses succeed and absolutely become sustainable,” said Mr. van As, who runs the West Cantonments-based boutique hotel and serviced apartments.

Ghana recorded US$2.1billion in tourism receipts for 2014, with the country’s National Tourism Development Plan 2013-2027 projecting tourism receipts of US$4.3billion in 2027.

Though the number of highly-rated hotels haven’t kept up with economic development over the past few decades, the rise of top-rated hotels in the last several years has generated a lot of excitement in the country.

The UNWTO estimates that there are about 60 million tourists coming into Africa annually. The number of tourist arrivals is also projected to increase in the coming years, after containment of the Ebola epidemic that broke out in the West Africa sub-region last year.

This requires sustained spending to upgrade on-ground infrastructure, and the creation of an enabling environment to attract more private capital into the hospitality sector. It also presents an enormous opportunity for the aviation sector on the continent.