Burkina Faso’s hospitality sector is holding its breath after the cancellation of international events due to the coronavirus pandemic, signalling a significant loss of revenue for businesses in Ouagadougou.

Fespaco, the annual pan-African festival for cinema and television, was the latest event to be postponed this week over concerns about Covid-19.

The National Culture Week of Burkina Faso and the Ouagadougou International Handicrafts Fair already suffered the same fate, according to correspondent Yaya Boudani.

Burkina Faso’s hotel and tourism sector has been hit hard by the economic slowdown due to restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Hotel owners and restaurant managers were counting on international events to help keep them afloat and are calling on government support to help save their businesses.

“The sector isn’t doing well and tourists haven’t been coming for over a year now. These events were a source of revenues,” Célestin Zoungrana, president of the Professional Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs, told correspondent Boudani.

The cancellation of high-profile international exhibitions, a major source of revenue for the country, has forced businesses to seek assistance.

Zoungrana urged the authorities to review the situation with business taxes and try to provide some kind of financial relief to companies facing challenging conditions.

An inter-ministerial commission has evaluated the impact on the hotel and tourism sector, but with the cancellation of Fespaco, the authorities must revisit this and make necessary adjustments, according to Zoungrana.

Fespaco is Africa’s largest film festival and celebrated its 50th birthday in 2019. It attracts some 100,000 people each year, who see some 450 screenings.