As the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to widen globally and here in Ghana, Citi Business News has learnt that some major hotels in Accra have shut down their operations due to low patronage.
Prior to this, some laid-off casual workers, and were preparing to cut down on permanent staff.
Some top hotel managers who did not speak on record, have told Citi Business News it is no longer prudent to continue operations when the numbers have dropped drastically; while they still pay bills and taxes.
Citi Business News can confirm that Accra City Hotel is among those to have shutdown, alongside some five star hotels.
Others are expected to close down within the week. The Ghana Hotels Association had earlier appealed to government to provide some stimulus package to rescue its members from total collapse.
It is unclear whether government’s one billion cedis stimulus package will support those in the hospitality industry.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Airport View Hotel in Accra, Francis Dwomoh, says the situation could worsen if measures are not put in place to support hotel managers; as it will take a while for them to bounce back.
“Basically, in Ghana a lot of our visitors come in for business, and to a small extent for leisure. So, we have a lot of conferences coming up in Ghana for example, both external conferences which are held in Ghana and internal conferences by institutions in Ghana, and I think the last directive to help us contain this was for meetings to be curtailed. So, once meetings are curtailed, of course, people will not travel from one country to the other to hold such meetings and then local conferences will not be held by institutions. In addition, some of these countries also have their own restrictions as well and that will also add up to whatever local restrictions we have here and impact the business in general”.
The current partial lockdown in parts of Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi, had undoubtedly worsened the situation for these hotels.
Few days after Ghana closed its airport to traffic, most hotels saw a sharp drop in their patronage. Some hotel managers started laying off casual workers due to low patronage.
The hoteliers want government to offer them some relief by way of tax cuts to prevent a complete shutdown of their facilities.
The President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah Nyameke, explained that due to the low patronage, the laying off of some casual workers to reduce operational cost had become necessary.