The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has initiated a sweeping crackdown on a staggering 1,774 tourism enterprises that are operating without the necessary licenses.
This nationwide enforcement exercise comes in accordance with the mandate set by the Tourism Act of 2011 (Act 817), which empowers GTA to register and license all tourism-related businesses before they commence operations.
These unlicensed enterprises span a wide range of sectors, including restaurants, drinking bars, nightclubs, hotels, conference facilities, banquet halls, serviced apartments, home lodges, spas, guesthouses, traditional catering establishments (Chop Bars), drinking spots, pubs, tour companies, car rentals, and even Airbnbs.
The enforcement operation, which has already commenced in various regions across Ghana, including the Ashanti region, is scheduled to kick off in the Greater Accra and Tema regions on October 17.
Speaking at a press briefing held at the GTA’s head office, Deputy CEO in charge of Operations, Ekow Sampson, emphasized the necessity of this exercise to cleanse and legitimize Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry.
“We will ensure that any tourism enterprise lacking an operational license faces prosecution,” Sampson declared. He further urged the general public to refrain from patronizing establishments that lack GTA licenses, as these places not only provide subpar services but also evade taxation, thereby depriving the country of vital revenue.
This enforcement initiative will also extend its focus to businesses that have defaulted in paying the tourism levy to the Tourism Development Fund. Initially, the operation will encompass five regions, including Greater Accra, Eastern, Tema, Ashanti, and Western.