Samuel Osei-Frempong/Alexander Nyarko Yeboah, GNA
Tema Sept 16, GNA - The Tema Regional Office of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has closed down thirty illegal lodging and catering facilities in and around Tema in an ongoing operation to sanitize the sector
According to Mr Gamali Dzordorme, the Regional Manager, the entities had violated the Tourism Act (Act 817) and its implementation tools including LI 1285 (tourism levy regulation) and LI 1205 (accommodation and catering regulation) and observed the need for operators within the Tourism Industry to stick to operational standards in order to enjoy the benefits of the industry.
Addressing the issue of ignorance on the need for operators to be duly licensed by the GTA to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr. Gamali Dzordorme said, “When your facility is closed down, it’s not so pleasant so I can tell you that 99% will feign ignorance, but in reality they actually know what they have to do.”
He observed the recalcitrant behaviour of some of the operators and said if the rules are not applied they would simply do what they want.
“In one way or the other we screen our list, and it’s only those who have been badly elusive that we close down. You know some of them had Sign Posts, but because of us and other revenue authorities, they took them off,” he said.
He said some people did not comply to standards because they did not see why they should comply, adding that “others say they were busy or they left it in the hands of somebody who had failed them, so for various reasons they may not comply. But from time to time we have to force them to comply, because if something happens now we would be the one the public will blame.”
He hinted on the need for more of such exercises, but due to minimal budgetary and human resources.
“Few officers would have to do the work that would normally take many people to handle. So we do it in phases; when we do the enforcement a bit we break and then we regroup and pursue a new list all together,” he informed.
According to him, as part of the process, they look out for fire and police reports, building permits, and inspect the facility to see if they had extensive defects then they would be asked to close down till they had fixed all the defects.
Mr. Dzordzorme observed that GTA did not only perform regulatory functions, but also performed technical and marketing services to promote the industry and also educate operators on industry standards “and they come back to thank us for seeing the benefits they get in doing that.”
He observed that as part of a tourism development agenda, the Tema Region had identified potential tourist sites which were under consideration for development.
“Activities include the branding of Tema as the centre of the world, the Shai Forest reserves, the Ada Songor lagoon, and the Sakumo Lagoon.
Some of the facilities closed down included Basilissa Family Restaurant at Community 25, Madis and Narh Hostels at New Dawenya, Naky’s Guest House, Community One, Green Flaiva, Community Nine, Big Base, Community two, Jayuro Restaurant, Community Three, Fynesse Lounge, Community Ten, Kasbet and Mac Hotels, Tema Newtown.
Others were EAS guest house and Visitors Inn at Oyibi and Falcon city at Ashaiman.
Ghana news Agency checks have revealed all the affected entities have taken steps to regularize her operations.