Major hospitality businesses such as hotels and lodgings in the Northern Region have shut down their facilities due to the rapid loses being incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure also saw over 500 workers within these companies asked to go home until further notice.
Some of the hotels that have been closed down are Mariam Hotel, Regal Hotel, Gariba Lodge, Nim Avenu Hotel, Mum and Dad Hotel, Global Dream Hotel, Radache Lodge and Conference.
Businesses got affected following Ghana’s increase in recorded case of the Coronavirus that compelled the President to issue a directive to suspend all public gatherings which included conferences in the country.
This resulted in cancellations of bookings made with hotels, prior to the first recorded cases in the country thereby affecting the industry in the region as well. According to the operators, the closure of the businesses was due to low patronage and lack of funds to pay staff, purchase utilities and other items to keep the industry running.
A visit to the premises of the affected hotels saw the gates shut down with only the security personnel at the post.
The Northern Regional Marketing Officer for the Ghana Tourism Authority, Kennis Ateere, who confirmed this to the B&FT said almost all the hotels in the region have written to the authority to announce the closure of their places until further notice.
He noted that the closure of the borders and the ban on inter-regional transportation have halted the businesses saying most of the hotels generate revenue from the programmes held at their premises as well as the accommodation.
“The operators depend on visitors and clients coming in, and so if they are not coming, how are you going to manage your staff? How are you going to manage your bills, how are you going to manage the taxes and so on? We can only pray,” he said.
He added that the hospitality industry in the north had the potential of contributing to the growth of the economy saying the sector was the fourth contributor to Ghana’s Domestic Product, which could help alleviate poverty in the country but the outbreak of the pandemic could derail its progress.
Some workers who spoke anonymously expressed worry about the situation saying they survived from the work they do and that the closure will go a long way to affect the family.