General News of Tuesday, 22 May 2018
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has met members of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) to update them on the progress of projects and initiatives being undertaken by the Authority.
The meeting which was held at the Accra Tourist Information Centre was also for GTA to officially meet and welcome the new executives of GHATOF who were inaugurated earlier in March this year.
In his presentation, the CEO of GTA Akwasi Agyemang outlined some of the projects his outfit has undertaken so far since taking over the reins of administration almost two years ago. He told the gathering that their major preoccupation as a regulator is to ensure Ghana’s tourism is greatly improved to enhance the visitor experience and that is why they were embarking on fixing some of the challenges at tourist attractions and also enforcing that operational standards are adhered to.
Mr. Agyemang mentioned that the GTA would continue to work closely with stakeholders especially GHATOF to ensure that tourism becomes attractive and that is many more initiatives have been and are being embarked on.
The CEO stated for example that, the Authority would soon begin the process of dredging the Paga Crocodile Pond which in its current state isn’t attractive to tourists. Reception centres, toilets facilities at tourist sites and highway rest stops are among some of the developments being planned.
He said difficulties being faced by private individuals engaged in tourism business would be addressed gradually and called on the membership of GHATOF to be supportive of their initiative to transform tourism in Ghana to an appreciable level. He added that having engaged associations within the Federation on the payment of the Tourism Levy, a compromise has been reached to make it easier and more flexible for people to pay.
“We realized that some of the tourism establishments are in the informal sector so we engaged them and came up with a proposal for everyone to pay a flat rate but they have countered the proposal. And we believe that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step so we’ve accepted their proposal and the next step is to ensure that they actually pay since they came up with the proposal.
“So we want to make it a user-led activity so that the establishments themselves won’t have any trouble paying,” he said.
To better bring stakeholders up to speed on developments within the sector, the Ghana Tourism Authority is planning a two-day retreat in Koforidua next month.
Members of GHATOF at the meeting, led by their President, Mrs. Bella Ahu took the opportunity to lay their concerns and suggestions to GTA which Mr. Agyemang said had been noted and would be addressed in due course.