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Business News Wed, 25 Mar 2020

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CTI Ghana pushes for a stimulus package for the 'dying' tourism sector

Chamber for Tourism Industry (CTI) has called on government to come to their aid as the hospitality industry is largely affected by the global pandemic, coronavirus.

In a press release copied to GhanaWeb, the Chamber is asking for a tax cut among others from government to fill the revenue loss gap they are currently incurring.

The group further requested for a “proper research done on job losses and a possible government programme that will support them in the interim”.

Below is the full statement

URGENT STIMULUS PACKAGE FOR DYING TOURISM SECTOR

Two weeks after Ghana reported its first coronavirus case, one of the hardest hit sectors has been the Travel and Tourism sector. While the disease wreaks havoc on the general health system and the economies of nations, several organizations around the world have been calling for support, including the Government of Ghana at the International Monetary Fund.

We at the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana reckon the trying times that the whole nation is going through including the government of Ghana in containing the cases. We commend government for all the efforts they have put into the containment and our heroic medical professionals at the front line.

Following the Year of Return in 2019 and Beyond the Return, which was expected to solidify the gains in 2020, the advent of COVID 19 has virtually eroded some of the gains made. The tourism sector’s 4th foreign exchange earner position is also threatened, thus also affecting government revenue.

To avoid a total wreckage of the sector, do we make the following appeal.

1. While finding medical solutions to the problem, we must have a consultative meeting between all interested parties including the Ministry of Finance, on what should be done in the short, medium and long term. This will include but not limited to:

a. Tax cuts or tax delays; how much and for what period of time.

b. A proper research done on job losses and a possible government programme that will support them in the interim.

c. Dialogue on using some hotels as centers at a subsidized fee to keep them running.

d. Tourism employs between 1 in 10 to 1 in 14 people with majority being women. Government through the Exim bank should set some supporting fund aside, with a less than 3 percent interest to support the sector revive once more.

e. Based on the above we propose that a special concession be made for women in the sector so that they are not disadvantaged.

f. While we wait for the coronavirus curve to flatten and decline we eventually need to look at how to improve the digital environment in the sector.

2. A proper road map for pushing domestic tourism in the interim as we drive international tourism.

Malaysia is giving 443 million dollars to its tourism sector as stimulus, while Myanmar also made available 70 million dollars to their tourism industry.

We know that this is an election year and the government has several commitments including solving this unexpected national emergency also but we believe that reviving the tourism industry will also result in revenue generation getting.

The Chamber is ready to engage and help organize the consultative meeting with less than 15 people present, bearing in mind social distancing or a virtual one on “go to meeting”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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