The Ghana Tourism Authority plans to close down 115 tourism facilities in the Western Region for defaulting on the 1% Tourism Levy payment to the tune of GHS489,000.
According to the Authority, this move is part of a nationwide exercise aimed at ensuring that hoteliers and restaurant operators provide quality services and keep the required quality standards.
Also, this aims to promote safety and security in the tourism industry and to ensure strict compliance in the payment of the Levy.
Speaking to Citi News in Takoradi just before the two-day exercise, the Tourism Development Fund Administrator, Prince Yaw Assah said the enforcement of the one percent levy and tourism quality standards is in line with the Tourism Act.
“We have already given them letters that all those who are owing should pay. They know the amount they owe so they should go and pay. The letters were given to them and effectively today and tomorrow we are embarking on an enforcement exercise. So, under the enforcement exercise, we will evoke the powers given to us by the Tourism Act 817 and then the tourism Legislation Instrument(LI) 2185,” he said.
Some of the defaulting hotels include Busua Beach Resort and Planters Lodge by Eagles who owe over GHS70,000 and GHS27,000 respectively. The authority plans to undertake this exercise in batches due to the high number of hotels in the region.
“We are going to evoke the powers given under the Act and LI to make sure that, those owing us pay. And then those units which are not keeping the required quality standards have to make sure that they keep the required quality standards. The facilities under this exercise are many but for now we are targeting 115 of them who owe us GHC489,000. We are here to make sure that we get all those monies collected today and tomorrow,”he added.
The Tourism Levy, stipulated in the Tourism Act 817 of 2011, is meant to provide the requisite resources for sustainable development of the tourism industry.
It is also meant to recover arrears owed by facility operators to put Ghana Tourism Authority in a better position to market and promote Ghana’s tourist resources.
The levies also go into the Tourism Development Fund. Collection of the levy began in 2012 with GH¢185, 647.00 collected that year.
Earlier this month the authority, embarked on the same exercise in the Ashanti Region to ensure that all hotels, restaurants and car rentals among others uphold high standards as Ghana marks The Year of Return.