Had W.H. Davies to recreate his poem, “Leisure” today, it would read somewhat like this…What is this life in, corona’s care, we have all the time to just stand and stare. One of the industries pounded by the COVID-19 pandemic is understandably the tourism industry. Committed, organised and successful tour operators used to making a killing by offering travel itineraries that aroused the tourists’ interests. But fate had it otherwise.
Be it the Makola market or the Bojo beach of Accra, W.E.B. Du Bios Center or the osu castle, Ghana has never disappointed an avid holiday enthusiast. The estimated yearly foreign exchange earnings by the tourism industry of Ghana is $2 million which contributes approximately 4.8% to the country’s GDP. Besides the African countries, the U.S.A, U.K., Germany, France and Netherlands are the drivers of Ghana’s tourism industry. The acceleration of growth for the tourism industry actually began with the diversification of the Ghanaian economy in 1985 which went farther from merely relying on traditional commodities such as cocoa, gold and timber. The Tourism Act of 2011 established the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) by replacing the Ghana Tourist Board and one of the most significant aspects of GTA is its linkage with the Tourism Development Fund (TDF). The TDF is financed largely through a 1% levy on tourism enterprises. Furthermore, the potential of tourism is seen as a means of creating jobs and alleviating poverty.
However, in recorded history, nothing as unscrupulous as the coronavirus plundered dreams at the swiftness of thought. Given this unprecedented situation, one can expect Ghanaian tour operators to keep their fingers crossed in their endeavour to meet the tourism sector’s target of 4.32 million tourists in 2027.