Kumasi, Nov 25, GNA – The tourism industry has suffered a big blow because of widespread anxiety over the outbreak of the deadly viral Ebola disease in some West African countries with arrivals to the sub-region significantly down.
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has confirmed this and said most Europeans and other visitors from the Western world, who form the majority of tourists to the sub-region, have decided to stay away for fear of catching the infection.
It noted that this would have implications for the economy in terms of revenue generation. “Most of our hospitality facilities have recorded low patronage, while other attractive tourist centres have received fewer external visitors”, Mr. Ekow Sampson, the Ashanti Regional Manager of the GTA, said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a seminar for restaurant and hotel operators in Kumasi.
The 10-day programme is being organized by the GTA together with the Ghana Progressive Hotels Association (GHAPROHA), Ghana Tourism Federation and Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
About 100 participants drawn from across the Region are attending and the goal is to strengthen their knowledge and deepen their understanding of food hygiene and safety.
Ebola which is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person had since its outbreak claimed more than 5, 000 lives in the sub-region with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea being the epicenter of the epidemic.
Mr. Sampson said the GTA would not relent in its supervision and monitoring roles to bring sanity to the tourism sector. Nana Ampadu Amoah, Regional Chairman of GHAPROHA, denounced the unhygienic conditions under which some of the facilities prepared food and warned that it was a danger to public health.
He called for best practices to enhance the safety of customers.