Hoteliers reel under numerous charges threatening the industry
Ghana’s target of becoming the preferred tourist destination in Africa may hit a snag. This is because some members of the Ghana Hotels Association have revealed that the numerous fees charged by the various regulatory bodies are gradually kicking them out of business.
They also alleged that some officers within the regulatory bodies are arbitrarily charging higher fees, which is making business unprofitable.
According to the Ghana Tourism Authority, the country attracted about nine hundred and thirty thousand(930,000) visitors in 2014. Placing 120th, 12th and 6th in the World, Africa and West Africa respectively by the recent Global Travel and Tourism Competitive Index, the Authority says it is targeting 5 million tourists annually by 2027. However, at a forum held in Accra to address challenges facing the hospitality industry, some hoteliers hinted that they anticipate the collapse of some businesses due to numerous charges imposed by the regulators.
Registration of business, licensing, payment of taxes, regular renewal of Fire Service certificates are some of the statutory obligations of hotels in the country. The Chairman of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah Nyamike, emphasised that some of the regulatory agencies are not helpful to the hotel industry.
He noted “there are so many regulatory bodies that work with the hotels and for some of the fees that are charged, we do not see the direct connection with what the regulatory bodies do for the hotels.
For instance, until EPA embarks on serious education for our members rather than focusing only on compliance, we didn’t appreciate the essence of EPA”.
Touching on the fire safety mechanisms of hotels, Dr. Ackah intimated “the fire service has a unique challenge because, about two years got an information that they have suspended the issuance of fire certificates which lasted for about twenty four (24) months and it was only recently we had the information that they have resumed issuing the certificates but members must be sure that they are not being short changed”.
The tourism sector maintains as the fourth highest foreign exchange earner for the country after gold, cocoa and oil.