Afcfta Accra Headquarters

Ghana reopens its borders on September 1. The Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana welcomes this decision as a win for AfCFTA but wishes to stress on the importance of not abandoning the practice of safety protocols in this Covid-19 era

The world continues to battle with the COVID-19 pandemic several months after the first case was confirmed in Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China.

As of August 31st, the Ghana Health Service has confirmed a total of 44,298 cases with a whooping 42,963 recoveries/discharges. 276 of the infected people had underlying health conditions and have died. There are currently 1,059 active cases of COVID-19.

In spite of the pandemic, nations have begun easing strict measures that were put in place during the initial surge of cases. In Ghana, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, August 30, on his 16th State-of-the-Nation address on COVID-19, announced the opening of the country’s borders. Despite the borders opening up to international flights, the President announced that measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of its citizens, and ensure that no new cases are brought into the country, while attempting to bring life back to normalcy.

According to the Chamber’s CEO, Prince Ntiamoah Boampong, the reopening of the borders comes at a crucial time when plans are far advanced for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) scheduled for January 2021. The AfCFTA is set to cover a market of about 1.2billion people, and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion across all 55 African Union member states. The reopening also allows for a proper testing of all the structures requisite for the trade in January next year. Mr. Ntiamoah Boampong noted:

“For us as a tourism institution, we are excited about this because that means we can prepare adequately for the full operations of the African Continental Free Trade office. It also shows us that visitors can come from different countries, in and out, and test the robustness of our airport and operations post-Covid and see how we can block all the loopholes that come with any challenges associated with AfCFTA’s operations.

“After our Africa Digitization Conference On Tourism and Trade webinar, I believe we have opened the door for trade conversations to be institutionalised and intensified. Almost every country on the continent had virtually gone on break so for AfCFTA’s host country to open its borders is a clear indication that we are open for business. That’s welcoming news for Ghana and AfCFTA.

“Trade and tourism are intertwined and inter-linked, and Ghana being a destination for these two activities would quickly help our failing tourism industry to rise up again,” the Chamber’s CEO concluded.

Regarding international arrivals protocols at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, all visiting passengers will have to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken not more than 72 hours before departure to Ghana. Passengers disembarking from flights are required to wear face masks.

Mandatory tests will be done upon arrival at the airport terminal, for persons over the age of five, with results provided within 30 minutes.

Passengers who test positive will be handed to health authorities for further clinical assessment and management. Passengers who test negative, however, will be allowed to go on their duties, but are required, like the rest of the nation, to observe current health protocols such as the wearing of face masks, and maintaining social distancing protocols.

Speaking on the reopening of the borders, the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana’s COO, Angela Akua Asante, told Citi Business News last week that although the Chamber looks forward to the borders reopening, and the positive impact it will have on the tourism industry, it is hoped that health protocols will continue to be adhered to.

“We need to continue with all those safety protocols so that the arrival of tourists is not going to create so much excitement that people forget to put their nose masks on, to practice social distancing and all of that,” Ms. Asante stressed upon.

“On the other hand, once we’re able to apply self-discipline and make this work, then this is going to be great for all of us. There’s a lot of excitement because businesses in the tourism sector are now able to project some growth after the last few months which have been quite difficult and quiet for them.

“We at CTI Ghana are quite positive about the direction that Ghana’s tourism sector is taking, and it is our duty -and my duty also as the Chief Operating Officer- to continue to cooperate with the Ministry, and also with the Ghana Tourism Authority to create a safe and prosperous environment for all of us,” she added.

About the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana (CTI Ghana)

The Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana is a Ghanaian registered company operating in the tourism environment. CTI Ghana’s aim is to provide leadership and serve as a voice for the industry. Our activities also include — but are not limited to — the provision of strong research, advocacy collaborations, empowerment, international partnership, and trainings.

The Chamber was established to help industry players build a high quality, sustainable, and eco-friendly Tourism Environment across all regions in Ghana.

Source: CTI Ghana

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