- Situation threatens ‘Destination Ghana’ agenda
With a chunk of international tourists’ budget being expended on hotel accommodation, the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) is worried the phenomenon could derail government’s ‘Destination Ghana’ campaign for this year.
Data from the GHA show that international tourists spend almost 60 percent of their budget on hotel accommodation; a situation the association has said could cause tourists to consider cheaper accommodation alternatives in other markets in the sub-region – making the country lose its competitiveness in the continental tourism market.
Indeed, Ghana has been classified as one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Africa by TripAdvisor, in relation to hotel rates and tour packages.
A 5-star facility in Accra within the same period costs around US$330.50 per night, checks by the B&FT from Movenpick Ambassador Hotel has confirmed – with prices at Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, another 5-star facility, going as high as US$410.70 per night.
Meanwhile, accommodation in star-rated facilities of the Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa is almost 30-40 percent lower compared to Ghana.
As of end of third-quarter 2021, a 5-star hotel in Senegal and the Gambia had an average price of US$150 per night, with 2-star and 3-star hotels costing between US$30-55.
In similar tourist destinations across the continent, including Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, rates are also lower, standing at US$240 per night compared to Ghana’s situation for 5-star hotel accommodation of the same period.
‘Destination Ghana’ campaign
On April 3, 2022, President Akufo-Addo launched a flagship tourism project, ‘Destination Ghana’, to whip up interest among travellers around the world to look at Ghana to satisfy their leisure and adventure curiosities.
Riding on the back of vast ecological and unique heritage sites across the country, the project seeks to attract, by 2024, one million tourists annually from the United Kingdom and Europe.
Despite the call for increased visitor turnout from Europe by 2024, hospitality sector players are apprehensive that the existing high hotel rates could hamper government’s quest to attract more tourists into the country.
Sector’s woes escalating
The President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah Nyamekeh, speaking to the B&FT on the existing challenges facing the hotels industry in Ghana admitted an escalation of the problem includes recent hikes in fuel prices and impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on food imports.
Already, the sector has been battling with multiple taxation – almost 20 of them – which impact pricing as well as the recent challenges of COVID-19 on global travel trade, coupled with latest effects of the situation in Russia and Ukraine on the global economy.
Scrap duplicate taxes, maintain current regulatory fees for the long-term
“Our pleas to scrap some of the duplicate taxes – to make the sector viable and bring more tourists – has yielded no result from government. We have appealed for special utility tariffs for the sector, but we are yet to receive feedback on that,” Dr. Nyamekeh said, adding: “Our immediate hope is that the over 20 regulatory fees are not increased in the near future, as we also call for further reduction in fuel prices.”
The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) has already announced its intentions to increase utility tariffs in July, a development that will put additional pressure on the hospitality sector.