Cameroon Sets Tough Conditions For Tourism Operators To Benefit From COVID-19 Funds

Cameroon’s Ministry of Tourism and Leisure has announced conditions for tourism establishments hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to fulfil before receiving money from the national solidarity fund for the fight against the novel coronavirus.

In a just published document, the Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Bello Bouba Maigari, said that the ministry had been allocated 190 million FCFA (about 380,000 dollars) by the national solidarity fund to be put at the disposal of small and medium size enterprises within the tourism sector.

According to the document, Category 1 hotel establishments, besides being duly authorised and producing statistics which include proof they have met up with their social and financial obligations. must show proof of having essentially external clientele and having hosted COVID-19 patients or quarantined them.

It adds that they must have been selected to host delegations for the 2021 African Championship (CHAN) competition and the African Nations Cup (CAN) competition in 2022.

Category 2 tourism establishments are not obliged to fulfil the COVID-19 conditions, the document states.

For Category 3 tourism establishments, the hotel must have a clientele which must not necessarily be international, but it must have hosted patients quarantined for the COVID-19, the document further states.

Category 4 concerns hotels with an essentially local clientele which must have hosted quarantined patients of COVID-19, while Category 5 establishments include hotels which activities were paralysed by the security crisis in the country and were completely crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The last category includes all the other authorised hotels, the document explains.

In the restaurants sector, the establishment must have been selected for the feeding of certain delegations of the CHAN 2021 and CAN 2022, it states.

The second category within the sector concerns well maintained restaurants which contribute towards the promotion of Cameroonian cuisine which must have regularly produced statistics, the document further states.

As concerns travel agencies, they must be establishments widely represented throughout the country and recognised by the International Air Transport Association and must have been operational since 2019 at least.

The condition for benefitting from the COVID-19 funds by Tour Guides includes being widely representative and having been practising as a national or regional tour guide.

The application files must include tax documents, the last payroll of workers and their bank statements, receipts for the payment of water and electricity bills by the establishment as well as a formal application for the allocation of the COVID-19 funds, it stated

Friday, October 16, 2020 is the closing date for the submission of applications. 

The National Technical Commission for Tourism Establishments indicates that Cameroon has a total of 1,003 hotels, with a total number of 18,152 rooms, 698 suites and 446 apartments to welcome tourists. These hotels have 494 restaurants of various categories and 250 leisure establishments.

The National Institute of Statistics estimates that 71 per cent of workers within the tourism sector in Cameroon were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by way of reduction in working hours, redundancies and technical leave between April and May, 2020.

Within the travel segment, airline companies were hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic following the closure of national borders, some of which closures are still in effect, in spite of favours accorded some airline companies.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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