The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) as part of a nation-wide enforcement exercise to clamp down on tourism enterprises operating without license from the Authority, has closed down two tourism facilities in Accra.
The facilities, Villaggio Vista and Airport Side Hotel, have been given a 24-hour ultimatum to rectify and ensure they meet the requirements for immediate reopening.
Addressing the media before the exercise, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, said in line with the Tourism Act any tourism enterprise before establishment needed to go through registration and licensing by the Authority.
He said offenders were liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than one hundred penalty units or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months or to both.
He said the exercise was mainly to weed out illegal operators as well as sensitize legal operators who did not meet the minimum standards set by the law, saying it was a way of cleaning up the industry and making sure operators worked within the confines of the law.
“For those whose standards do not meet the requirements, we would give them the opportunity to rectify and do the right thing, if they comply we would give them the right to reopen for business, but those who are operating illegally they would be ask to go through due processes of registration.”
He said the one-month exercise would also be a way of throwing more light on other things that the GTA does.
“Per the laws, every tourism establishment must collect the one percent tourism levy from patrons and that is what goes into the tourism development fund, which is used for infrastructural development, marketing of Ghana as a preferred destination, capacity building and investments.”
Mr Agyemang said the task force would be collaborating with the regional managers as well as the regional teams in all the 11 regions under the agency.
He said the facilities to be closed down include hotels, guest houses, service apartments, hostels, home lodges, restaurants, fast food joints, traditional catering establishments, chop bars, drinking spots, travelling agencies, movie houses, event and entertainment centres, pubs, night clubs, tour operators, car rental companies among others.
“We would be given operators the opportunity once we go there to do the right thing and reopen because we are also mindful of the inconveniences to patrons of the establishments.”
The team would be in Accra from June 3 to June 7, in Tema from June 10 to June 11, in the Central Region from June 12 to June 14, in Western Region from June 14 to June 17, in Ashanti Region from June 18 to June 21, in Brong Ahafo Region from June 22 to June 25, in the Eastern Region from June 26 to June 28, in the Volta Region from June 29 to July 8, then proceed to the regions of the north.
The team is being led by Mr Michael Kpingbi, Manager Operations, GTA.