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Business News of Thursday, 25 June 2020

Source: GNA

About 1,000 SMEs in the tourism sector to benefit from World Bank support

Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo

About 1000 small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country are expected to benefit from a nine-million dollar World Bank grant.

The funds would go into developing tourism sites and destinations, infrastructure and capacity building.

The support is an initial amount from the World Bank to revitalise the tourism and hospitality industry hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) estimates that about 80 per cent of the small and medium scale enterprises have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

Prospective applicants must be individuals and Ghanaian-owned businesses with physical presence in Ghana and registered with the Registrar General's Department and associations within the tourism industry.

At the launch of the Grant Scheme, under the Ghana Tourism Development Project, in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said prospective applicants could submit the Expression of Interest from today, June 24 to July 8,2020.

A National Steering Committee has been constituted to review and undertake due diligence of applicants' proposals to ensure genuine businesses in the tourism sector benefit from the grant.

It is expected that beneficiaries of the grant would invest the funds in developing the aesthetic appearance of tourist sites and improve infrastructure to attract more tourists.

A Grant Management Team has also been constituted to disburse the funds as well as monitor and evaluate the implementation of the various ideas proposed by the beneficiaries.

Prospective applicants are supposed to visit the Ghana Tourism Authority and the sector Ministry's websites to download and fill the application forms.

Mrs Oteng-Gyasi expressed the hope that the World Bank support would stabilise and revitalise the tourism value chain and generate employment for many Ghanaians.

It would also help protect and preserve the cultural heritage and increase the share of the country's tourism earnings.

The World Trade Organization estimates that Africa receives only one per cent of the global tourism earnings of $1.7 trillion.

Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who launched the Tourism Enterprise Support programme called for aggressive marketing and promotion of the country's tourism sector to increase the country's share of the $1.7 trillion global earnings of the sector.