COVID-19: 20,000 Jobs Lost In Gabon Tourism Sector Due To Pandemic

Tourism is the hardest hit sector in Gabon due to the COVID-19 pandemic with over 20,000 jobs already lost.

According to the Gabonese Minister of Tourism, Pascal Jouangni Ambouroue, there is an urgent need for the reorientation of the sector because it will continue on the downward path of losing jobs if nothing is done within the next few weeks.

Speaking at a seminar in Libreville recently, the Tourism Minister said the “objective of the seminar was to take an inventory of all the preoccupations in the tourism sector and to look into the appropriate solutions to be put in place to accompany what is already available so as to re-launch the economy of the sector”.

Participants at the seminar expressed the urgent need for action, without which “hundreds of tourism businesses would be constrained to close shop before the end of the current year”.

Among the solutions envisaged to revitalize the sector, participants called for an end to multiple controls imposed on tourism operators who have become the “privileged targets of taxation officials”.

They advocated the harmonization of control procedures between the various fiscal services, the delimitation of the areas of competences of the different sectors and the putting into place of a single payment outlet.

Tourism operators spoke of the difficulties they encounter in obtaining finances by way of loans or grants and called for the reduction of loan interest rates by at least 10 per cent and the putting into place of a guarantee fund in the state bank that handles official deposits – Caisse de dépôt de consignation (CDC).

The seminar followed a meeting that took place on August 10, 2020 between the Minister of Tourism and the Libreville Tourism Club.

The meeting is supposed to lead to the “elaboration of a guiding document to be presented to the Prime Minister”.

Tourism sector operators are already loudly expressing their impatience.

“The problem with this government is that it is quick in promises and very slow in actions towards the fulfillment of the promises”, one tourism operator said as he left the venue of the seminar.

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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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