Sustaining the hotel industry in Ghana post COVID-19
Daily Graphic
News Articles

Sustainability, simply defined as the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level plays an important role in hotel operations.

After all, every hotel worth its salt strives to stay in business as long as possible to continue to make profit for its investors.  

In pursuing this profit-driven goal, hoteliers implement various policies, measures, strategies and activities to sustain the hotel business.  In this context, sustainability is certainly not a new concept in hotel operations.

However, the concept gained more currency, meaning and importance when COVID-19 struck in Ghana in March 2020, leaving in its wake extremely low occupancy at hotels and a pile up of unpaid bills and financial obligations.  

This devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in temporary and permanent closure of some hotels, thus threatening the sustainability of the hotel industry in Ghana.  

Movement affected

The COVID-19 pandemic was able to threaten the survival and sustainability of the hotel industry in Ghana because it affected one of the fundamental requirements of the hotel industry, which is the unrestricted movement of people.  

But beyond restricted movement, there are a host of other factors that also have the potential to threaten the survival and sustainability of the hotel industry in Ghana.  

Thus, in considering ways to sustain Ghana's hotel industry post COVID-19 it is important for industry players, both public and private, to determine these possible factors and put measures, policies and programmes in place to nip them in the bud.


Some of the factors that have the potential to threaten the sustainability of the hotel industry and measures that need to be put in place to address them include:

Natural Disasters such as earthquake, flooding, fire outbreak etc.

There is the need for more investment in state-of-the art equipment for detection of early warning signals for adequate preparation against natural disasters.

Environmental degradation is a huge threat to the survival and sustainability of the hotel industry in Ghana.

The effect of galamsey on our water bodies and its impact on availability and cost of water easily comes to mind.

But also important are all other activities that damage the environment such as pollution, poor waste disposal and management, misuse of natural resources and deforestation.  

It is important for laws that fight environmental degradation to be enforced and the citizenry empowered to contribute their quota in protecting the environment.

Greening must be high on the agenda of every government.

Terrorism:  The security agencies must continue its "See Something Say Something" campaign aggressively and continue to engage the general public to make them more security conscious.

The government must also keep an eye on its foreign policies that have the potential to attract terrorism.

Low investment in the hotel industry:  Investment is one of the key areas for the survival of the hotel industry in Ghana.

Indeed, the establishment of a Tourism and Hospitality Bank that specifically addresses the funding and financial needs of the sector on very friendly terms is long overdue.

Other factors

Poor service quality and poor management of hotels:  Even though Ghana is touted as a hospitable country, patrons of hotels continue to complain about poor customer services and general low quality of service that invariably emanates from poor management.  

There is the need for the Ghana Tourism Authority to run a more regimental regulation of the industry with adequate investment in training at all levels.

The same applies to operators of hotels who are also expected to step up management of their facilities.

Unfriendly business environment:  This poses a huge threat to the sustainability of the hotel industry in Ghana.

The negative impact of high cost of running hotels as a result of high inflation, high cost of borrowing, high exchange rate, high import duty, high taxes and levies on the survival of hotel businesses cannot be overemphasised.

The government must direct most of its effort in creating a business environment that encourages investment in hotels and also allows them to grow.

Poor infrastructure, especially roads, hospital facilities, utility services and tourism attraction sites:  These are very basic requirements needed to boost the hotel industry and ensure its sustainability.

ŸNegative social perception of hotels:  Even though this has improved over the last two decades, more needs to be done in terms of building a positive image of the hotel industry in terms of its contribution to the Ghanaian economy and its multi-purpose function.  

In conclusion, it is refreshing to note that it is possible to sustain Ghana's hotel industry post COVID-19.

This can be achieved through the implementation of policies, measures and programmes outlined in this article.  

Obviously, we cannot predict the future accurately as COVID-19 taught us, but we can consistently and continuously put in measures to either prevent such negative occurrences or effectively mitigate them when they do occur.

That is how we can sustain the hotel industry in Ghana post COVID-19.

The writer is the President of Ghana Hotels Association