Accra, Feb. 16, GNA – The Ghana Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Tourism Development Fund has begun a sustained nationwide monitoring exercise of the collection and remittance of the one per cent tourism levy by tourism operators.
The exercise is aimed at visiting all certified tourism enterprises to obtain first-hand information on the collection and remittance of the fund.
At a press briefing, on Moday, in Accra, Mr Charles Osei-Bonsu, the Executive Director, GTA, said the Tourism Development Fund, administered by the Board of Directors of the GTA and a representative of the Controller and Accountant General, is to provide additional resources to augment the annual budgetary allocation for the development of the industry.
He said the objective of the fund is to provide funding for tourism and tourism related projects and programmes in Ghana, including marketing and promotion of tourism, capacity building, market research, and development of tourism infrastructure.
He said the fund is also expected to help develop and promote other entrepreneurial activities, tourism export trade-oriented activities of institutions and tourism education and training.
He said the tourism act enjoins all licensed operating facilities to collect the one per cent levy from patrons and remit same into designated bank accounts.
Mr Osei-Bonsu said the exercise is to ensure that certified members are collecting the monies and paying into the fund, and also that certified members who are not collecting the monies do so as well, to ensure certified members who are collecting but are not paying, to start paying.
He said the visit would also help gather operational challenges faced by members on the ground.
Mr Akunu Dake, the Board Chairman, GTA, said the tourism industry has become increasingly competitive and this requires that huge investments are continually made in developing products and services to meet the needs and expectations of patrons.
He said the tourism levy of one per cent payable by patrons of tourism establishments is key to the survival of the fund, since it constitutes the main source of the fund.
He noted that the one per cent levy is not of the profit of the tourism establishment or facility, but a package that patrons pay based on the services they enjoy at the facilities, saying facilities must therefore make it a point to collect and remit into the fund.
Mr Dake said the levy, which became fully operational in October 2012, with registration and certification of accommodation and catering facilities, and became effective in November 2012, has seen 98 per cent of licensed accommodation and 87 per cent of catering facilities being registered and duly certified to collect and remit into the fund.
He indicated that after 28 months of its existence the tourism levy collection has generated a little over GH¢ 9,000,000.00 with an average monthly collection of about GH¢ 350,000.00.
He said the analysis of the collection and remittance of the fund indicate that a number of registered and certified operators have not made any payment into the fund, irregular payments by a number of certified operators and delay in payments of the collected levy.
He urged certified member and operators who are not abiding by the act to quickly have a change of mind as operators who are found contravening the provision of the regulation would be sanctioned.
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