The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) on Friday said the country witnessed 914,892 tourist arrivals and receipt in 2022 compared with 623, 523 recorded in 2021, representing 46.7 per cent year-on-year growth.
Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, GTA, disclosed this at the ongoing sixth AccraWeizo West Africa Travel and Tourism Market, in Accra, Ghana.
The tourism expo has its theme as: “Tourism Development Through Digitalisation”.
READ ALSO: National carrier ‘Nigeria Air’ to embark on first flight to Abuja
Sampson noted that the increase in tourist arrival to Ghana was a testament that the nation had fully recovered from COVID-19 setback.
Sampson urged Africans and Nigerians specifically to continue to visit Ghana for touirsm purpose.
According to him, Nigeria is a major source market as far as Ghana’s tourism is concerned and continues to play a vital role in the country’s tourism business.
“Nigeria, Cote D’ivoire and Liberia remain among the top 10 arrival countries, with about 9.5 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 1.6 per cent of total annual arrivals respectively in Ghana,” he said.
He said Ghana was returning to pre-pandemic arrival levels through the positive policy interventions by the government.
“Some of such interventions was COVID-19 response grant (COVID-19 relief grant, SME support grant, site upgrade grant) backed by an aggressive social media campaign by GTA and the collective commitment of stakeholders in the tourism Industry.
“In the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) report on the topic “Tourism Set to Return to Pre- Pandemic Levels in Some Regions in 2023”, it was stated that Europe reached nearly 80 per cent of pre-pandemic arrivals whiles Africa and America reached 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
“Ghana’s arrival recovery stood at 81 per cent from pre-pandemic levels, which is higher than the average African recovery level,” he said.
According to Sampson, before the global lockdown, 68.8 million people came to Africa as tourists in 2019.
He said these tourists and their spending power contributed to 6.8 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25.48 million jobs to the continent.
“By the time the pandemic hit, almost six million jobs and 86 billion dollars had been wiped out in Africa. In Ghana, international tourism arrivals declined by 68.5 per cent, from 1.130,307 in 2019 to 355,108 in 2020.
“COVID-19 severely impacted the tourism sector, reducing its contributions to the global GDP by nearly half in 2020 and subsequently recovering slowly in 2021 to a total global GDP contribution of USD 5.8 trillion.
” In 2020, over 62 million jobs were lost in the tourism sector and spending by domestic and international visitors declined by nearly 50 per cent and 70 per cent respectively,” he said.
Earlier, Seth Baah, Board Chairman, GTA, advised tourism practitioners in Ghana and Nigeria to be deliberate about grooming tourism.
According to Baah, the two countries are capable of repositioning the African tourism industry.
The Convener of the expo, Ikechi Uko, advised Africans to intensify efforts toward working unanimously to achieve seamless travels across the continent.
“West Africans with over 400 million people, are observed to be the most travelled across the world and if formidable synergies are created to make West Africa a domestic market for all, Africa will be taking its pride of place globally.
“What we can achieve together is amazing but unfortunately, we have not explored well enough, if only 10 per cent of West Africans can be made to travel within the region, we will be making fortune as Africans.
“A lot of countries get their travelling population from West Africa, we must stop the usual numerous check points on our roads to improve seamless travels,” Uko said. (NAN)