General News of Friday, 21 July 2017
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has launched a campaign to boost the collection and payment of the one per cent tourism levy to enhance the hospitality industry.
The sector Minister, Mrs Catherine Ablema Afeku, opined that if all players in the industry were collecting and paying the tourism levy faithfully, there would have been enough funds to develop the sector and propel the country’s tourism to better compete internationally.
Per the Tourism Levy Regulation, which became fully operational in October 2012, a tourism operator is required to register with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and charge one per cent levy on services it delivers.
The levy collected is required to be submitted to the GTA through payment into a designated bank account within a month of each collection period.
The Tourism Development Fund is also to provide additional funds to augment the annual budgetary allocation for the development of the industry.
An analysis of the collection and remittance of the fund given at the workshop showed that some registered and certified operators did not make payment into the fund, or paid irregularly, while others delayed in paying the collected levy.
Launching the campaign in Accra yesterday at a workshop organised by the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) to sensitise its members to the need to pay the levy, Mrs Afeku said the government was putting in place a number of initiatives to attract more people into the industry to widen the tax net and create more jobs.
She announced that Ghana would be hosting the World Tourism Forum on October 10, 2017 in Accra, the first time, she said, it would be held in Africa.
She underscored the need for members of the federation to adhere to standards in customer care, safety, security and infrastructure, to ensure Ghana was marketed to the international community in the right way.
In his welcome address, the President of the federation, Nana David Anim, said the workshop was underpinned by the identification of three key areas that fell short in the industry and named them as the poor service delivered by some tourism operators, lack of safety and security at most tourism facilities and the poor collection and payment of the tourism levy.
Nana Anim said the United Nations had named Ghana as a tourism hub in Africa and underscored the need to ensure that international standards were adhered to nationwide in all aspects of tourism service delivery.
For his part, the Chairman for the event, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), Mr Kwadwo Antwi, said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had identified the tourism industry as crucial to his job creation and economic transformation agenda and that had informed the elevation of the sector Minister to a cabinet minister.
“Given the fact that as private sector players you require huge investments, we need to support national efforts to raise funds to boost our industry,” he said.
He, therefore, called on actors in the industry to contribute their quota financially to the development of the industry by faithfully collecting and paying the tourism levy.