3 hospitality centres shut down over failure to pay GHS 600,000 in tourism levy
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has disclosed that it has shut down three hospitality centres in Accra.
According to the Authority, these businesses owe over GH¢600,000 in levies.
Business operators in the tourism and hospitality sector are mandated to pay their 1 percent tourism levy, but Hill View Hotel, Suma Court Hotel and Tayiba Cafe, all in Accra, have failed to do so after several attempts to get them to comply.
In an interview, acting Director of Public Affairs at GTA, Nelson Jones, urged all operators to regularize their operations with them or risk facing sanctions as part of the ongoing exercise.
“It’s not a matter of targeting, but the issue is if we come and your cheque is ready, we are only coming for the money, either the money or we close you down because we have given them ample time.”
“So, these three facilities were not able to give us any undertaking,” he stated.
The Tourism Levy, stipulated in the Tourism Act 817 of 2011, is meant to provide the requisite resources for the sustainable development of the tourism industry.
The Authority carried out a similar exercise in 2019 where it planned to close 115 tourism facilities in the Western Region for defaulting to the tune of Ghs 489,000.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry has hinted of plans to inject over $20 million into the industry to improve tourism and arts.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Mohammed Awal, said this when he paid a courtesy call on Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
He added that the covid-19 pandemic affected the tourism industry due to some lock downs and travel restrictions, therefore, the ministry is seeking the Asantehene’s support to shift focus on domestic tourism where Ghanaians will be encouraged to travel across the country.
The Asantehene noted that the tourism industry could generate income more than the cocoa sector if managed well, and, therefore, the high cost of hotels should be resolved to attract visitors into the country.
To this end, Dr Awal said the Ejisu Museum, Yaa Asantewaa’s tomb, Lake Bosomtwe and some six handicraft centres in the Ashanti Region, will be improved so that 250,000 jobs could be generated annually and also contribute to the nations GDP.
Otumfuo also encouraged the tourism ministry to provide art and tourism lessons for commercial drivers who make first contact with visitors for further advancement in the sector.