The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) has organized the first in a series of training/sensitization programme on the 1% Tourism Levy for players within the hospitality and tourism industry.
The training which was held at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra, also focused on ensuring safety and security and improving the quality of service delivery in the industry. Established in 2012, the tourism levy is mandated to be paid by tourists who patronize tourism or related services such as, hotels, restaurants, clubs, pubs, car rentals amongst others.
The levy which goes into the Tourism Development Fund is meant to go into the eventual growth and development of the sector. While many of the establishments who are mandated by the Ghana Tourism Authority to collect the levy on their behalf have over the years tried their possible best to do so, there are others who continue to default in the exercise.
It is in light of this, according to the President of GHATOF, Okatakyie Nana Anim I that his outfit is embarking on the nationwide sensitization programme for members to be equipped with the relevant information and the know-how to be able to collect the levy. He said GHATOF as the umbrella body for private sector trade associations within the tourism and hospitality would continue to be the main vehicle that drives the industry.
Nana Anim said GHATOF will work closely with the sector ministry and its agencies and other stakeholders to bring the needed growth to the sector.
Chairman of the occasion, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Development Company Mr. Kojo Antwi said he was delighted his office could be part of the process to train and sensitize industry players, stating that it was imperative that such programmes, frequently to help build the capacities of participants.
His colleague, Mr. Akwasi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority made a case for the improvement of service delivery as a means advancing the hospitality sector. He urged participants to take advantage of the training to abreast themselves of best customer care practices in order to maximize customer satisfaction which will in turn grow their businesses.
Launching the training program, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Mrs. Catherine Afeku reminded the industry players of the potential of the tourism sector for which reason all hands must be on deck to help boost it. She stressed that the sector has the ability to ‘’change the dynamics of job creation in the country.’’ According to her, in the face of constant global economic downturns, tourism is the only sector which is ‘’recession proof.’’
She said stakeholders must work together to elevate the status of the tourism and the hospitality industry in the country. On the levy, she opined that it was crucial to ‘’spread the net of the 1% Tourism Levy,’’ in order to bring in the needed revenue to support the industry. Hon. Afeku urged GHATOF to support small businesses engaged in the sector to grow. ‘’I entreat GHATOF to provide the needed support to the smaller business; hotels, motels – it is the smaller ones that are promoting domestic tourism,’’ she indicated.
The training, had sessions on the 1% Tourism Levy which saw the Fund Manager of the Tourism Development Fund, Prince Yaw Essah take participants through the modalities of by which the levy is collected. A lecturer at GIMPA, Dr. Mensah Ansah took the gathering through Customer Service and how it can be enhanced. There was also a presentation on ensuring safety and security at tourism and hospitality facilities for patrons.
The nationwide sensitization programme is being put together in partnership with GTA and GTDC and it is under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The next edition takes place in Cape Coast on July 27.