We need a tourism emergency relief fund – GHATOF to gov’t

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The President of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) is asking government through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority to establish a fund that will provide relief to stakeholders and businesses in times of emergencies that disrupt the tourism and hospitality industry.

Speaking at the launch of the Public-Private Partnership Forum (PPPF) last Thursday, November 23, Mrs. Bella Ahu said the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic had brought untold hardships to operators within the sector.

“We are asking that a fund is set aside to take care of government and practitioners in times such as COVID-19,” she posited.

The GHATOF President is proposing that the legislation-backed fund be created out of the one percent (1%) tourism levy that is charged on all tourism and hospitality services in Ghana. Although the levy is contributed to a fund, the Tourism Development Fund, utilisation of the current fund does not make any provision for emergency situations.

The absence of such a relief fund, Mrs. Ahu noted had resulted in challenges in the operations of tourism and hospitality businesses with Coronavirus still lingering. This, she observed, had been compounded by the multiplicity of taxes that make the cost of operations high.

“So we pay all these taxes to government but we don’t have anyone coming to sleep in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and visit destinations,” the GHATOF President lamented.

Mrs. Ahu also decried the unavailability of institutional representation of on the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) Board, stating that it created a disconnect between government and private sector which is the main driver of tourism in the country.

She therefore urged government to as a matter of necessity, appoint someone from among GHATOF which is the umbrella body of all tourism trade associations to the GTA Board.

Story by: Samuel Obeng Appah

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