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Ghana’s ‘December in GH’ Sees Growth in Visitor Numbers but Decline in Hotel Occupancy

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Jul 9, 2024

Despite the successive growth in visitor numbers for the Ghana Tourism Authority’s (GTA) annual flagship event known as ‘December in GH’, hotel occupancy for tourists and visitors has declined in recent years. ‘December in GH’, a peak season for Africa tourism, which is expected to largely benefit hotel businesses across the country, has seen dwindling fortunes in occupancy rates according to data from the GTA. The 2023 Ghana Tourism Report indicates that hotel stays declined slightly by five percent in recent years, while Airbnb usage surged from 11.5 percent in 2021 to 27 percent in 2023, with predictions of further occupancy growth in the coming years. A Blacvolta analysis of accommodation trends and preferences attributes this shift to the high cost of hotel rates due to nearly twenty taxes operators and patrons face. For instance, a significant portion of tourists’ budgets – almost 80 percent – is allocated to accommodation, a sub-sector known for its high costs. According to the 2023 Ghana Tourism Report, accommodation accounted for the highest average spending of tourists at nearly US$500 weekly in non-star rated hotels. Numerous taxes impact the sector’s pricing mechanisms. Indeed, ‘December in GH’ as a flagship event for Africa entertainment has seen growing appeal, with first-time visitors increasing from 40 percent in 2022 to 47 percent last year. The GTA maintained that sectors including accommodation, entertainment, food and beverages, transport, and shopping contributed immensely to participants’ spending. According to the report, the average daily spending per participant at the events surged from US$606.79 in 2022 to US$1,376 last year – representing a substantial increase of 126 percent. Despite these gains, hotel owners and stakeholders have expressed concerns about losing critical tourist numbers to other accommodation units as they continuously struggle due to the sector’s multiple taxes. #AfricaTourism #AfricaEntertainment #GhanaTourism #DecemberInGH #TravelTrends #HotelOccupancy #TouristSpending #Airbnb