The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has threatened to shut down some hospitality facilities for defaulting in the payment of the one percent Tourism Levy, and failing to comply with quality standards set by the Authority.
The Authority says this is in line with LI 2185 of the Tourism Act.
Per the Act, every registered hospitality entity must pay a 1% tourism levy to the government. This levy is to take care of disasters as well as other issues as they may arise in the tourism sector.
The GTA has often complained about challenges in the collection of the 1 percent tourism levy meant to improve Ghana’s tourism sector.
The Authority believes that poor records keeping by some members in the sector, under declaration of sales and non-availability of managers for some of these establishments among others, are to be blamed for the challenges.
It is for this reason that the Authority decided to embark on a nationwide enforcement exercise.
On the first day of a week’s tour of the Greater Accra Region, the team visited four restaurants and hotels, including Country Kitchen located at Ringway Estates near Osu for delaying in the payment of the levy despite several warnings from the Authority.
Deputy Chief Executive in charge of operations at the GTA, Ekow Sampson, explained that the levy is crucial for the sustenance and growth of Ghana’s tourism sector.
“These are very critical issues that we need to contend with especially as we are expecting a lot of celebrities and tourists during Christmas time. The Year of Return, as we know, has been a success story; but has been achieved through a sustained campaign which is being financed by the tourism levy; so, we cannot, as a nation, embark on this fruitful exercise without the industry or those who have registered to pay the tourism levy not paying. We are doing it because there is a need to maintain standards and quality,” he explained.
Country Kitchen Restaurant was reminded to make the payment and threatened with a shut down, while other three hospitality facilities, Enda Restaurant, Oak Plaza and MJ Grand Hotel, instantly issued cheques to clear their outstanding arrears.
The Tourism Authority will spend the whole week visiting various hotels, restaurants and tourist sites to ensure they have fully complied with its standards.