Barely two weeks after the opening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to commercial flights, hotels in Accra are yet to experience an upsurge in patronage.
The Daily Graphic's enquiries at some of the hotels and guest houses in the capital have indicated that although there is an uptick in foreign clients after the opening of the airport, patronage still remains low.
It became clear that hotels that relied on foreign guests bore much of the brunt of the low patronage, compared with their counterparts that drew on local clients.
The hotels and restaurants sub sector of the hospitality industry is one of the greatest hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Since the lockdown in March this year to contain the spread of the virus, the industry has laid off 40,000 workers, according to the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA).
According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the hotels and restaurants sub-sector of the economy contracted by 74.
9 per cent in the second quarter of the year, a dip that equals 0.
8 per cent of total productivity in the economy.
Some accounts The Sales and Marketing Manager of the Accra City Hotel, Mr.
Mamphey, told the Daily Graphic that in spite of the resumption of scheduled flights into the country by some of the international airlines, patronage of four- and five-star hotels remained low.
Given that cabin crew and pilots are some of the most frequent clients of four- and five-star hotels, the resumption of their activities was expected to provide those hotels a window for recovery after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic had completely shut down their operations.
Mamphey said that was a drop in the ocean.
"What we are recording now are still small numbers and we use these numbers to say there is a rise.
So, yes, there are some activities after the airport opened, but patronage is still very low," he said.
COVID-19 rates At the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, one of the managers, who did not want to be named, told the Daily Graphic that the hotel was still charging 'COVID-19' rates, which were lower rates, indicating that not much had changed since the pandemic restrictions were relaxed.
He said most of the measures that were adopted when the pandemic broke out were still in place, and added that it had not begun full operations yet.
"Our staff are still running the shift system because there is not much activity, although things are improving gradually.
But we still have to wait for a month or two and see," he said.
There was not much activity at the Kempinski Hotel when the Daily Graphic team got there around midday yesterday.
The lobby of the imposing hotel, as well as its car park, which were usually full in normal times, were empty.
The situation was not different at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel and the Labadi Beach Hotel.
Local patronage But at the Blue Leaf Guest House at Osu, the General Manager, Mr.
Alex Hansen, said the facility was doing brisk business because locals had been its main clientele.
In the last few days since the opening of the KIA, he said, the guest house had been recording patronage from some foreigners.
"For us, because we get a lot of local bookings, we have been doing well since the ease of restrictions, and even recently the foreigners too are coming in," he said.
In a separate interview, the Manager of the Serefina Guest House at Achimota, Ms.
Adwoa Takyie, said the facility resumed full operations right after the restrictions on movements had been lifted in Accra.
Exceptions At the Marriott Hotel at the Airport City, there were a lot of activities going on at the time the team visited.
There were two separate conferences running simultaneously and travellers were seen checking into the hotel.
Although the Sales and Marketing Manager was not available for comment when the team arrived at the hotel around 2 p.
, the Daily Graphic observed that patronage was high, with both restaurants in the facility full during lunch.
The Sales and Marketing Manager of the Peduase Valley Resort in the Eastern Region, Mr.
Paul Sasu, said the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively affected the income generation of the facility.
That, he said, was because although the facility relied on local patronage and had clients coming in every day, it was unable to operate at full capacity, hence the shortfall in sales.
Meanwhile, the Holiday Inn Hotel had temporarily been shut down when the team visited the facility.
Association The President of the GHA, Dr.
Ackah-Nyamike, told the Daily Graphic that to help bring hotels back to profitability, the government had directed the refund of water bills paid by the hotels from April to September.
He said the government must also introduce the 50 per cent discount on electricity tariffs to hotels for the last quarter of the year to cushion their operations.