Stop Paying Lip Service To Hospitality Sector - Ayitey

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The General Manager of the Coconut Regency Hotel in Accra, Mr Ralph Ayitey, has asked the government to adopt and implement policies that will lessen the operational challenges facing businesses in the hospital sector.

That, he said, would enable them create more jobs, generate extra income and revenue to the state.

He also appealed to the government to increase budgetary allocations to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ministry of Tourism to enable both institutions undertake their regulatory duties that are necessary for the development of the local tourism industry and the hospitality segment of the economy.

Mr Ayitey said government needed to “develop a concise policy for the hospitality sector” to incorporate the need to ensure improved and stable electricity and water supply as well as network hotels and tourist sites nationwide with standard roads.

“There are instances where we (Coconut Groove Hotels) have had to construct roads linking some places just for the comfort of our clients and the business and I think that should not have been our responsibility,” the GM of the Regency Hotel said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.

His comments came on the back of a story carried by the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, a sister publication by the Graphic Communications Group Limited, which revealed that the country earned some US$2.3 billion from tourism in the first nine months of the year.

Ghana News Headlines

For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page

The said amount came in from 1.2 million tourists who trooped into the country within that period, data from the Ghana Tourism Authority, the body that regulates the tourism industry, showed.

“If the country is able to earn this much from tourism in just nine months, then why will the government not improve infrastructure for the hotels and other service providers in the hospitality sector to operate properly?”

“When you do that, then you create an enabling environment for businesses in that segment to operate efficiently, create jobs and pay more revenue to the state,” Mr Ayitey said.

The Coconut Groove Regency Hotel is a member of the Coconut Grove Hotels which is made up of the Regency Hotel in Accra, the Elmina Beach Resorts in the Central Region and the Miners Lodge at Obuasi in the Western Region.

The hotels are also a member of the Groupe Nduom, a collection of businesses owned by the business magnate and presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom.

The Groove Hotels started as a single hotel in Elmina in 1995 with 15 rooms but is currently made up of the three hotels which together have 157 rooms with conference rooms and offering allied hospitality services.

It currently employs close to 300 people, according to the GM of the Regency Hotel in Accra.

“Unlike other sectors of the economy where police guard is provided for them and electricity and water supply are constant, what we in the hospitality industry get is erratic power supply,” Mr Ayitey noted.

While admitting that government had often attributed the little resources and policies directed at the sector to inadequate funds, the Regency GM said “the thing is not just about resources. It is more of priority.”

“If the government is really committed to tourism and the hospitality sector and not paying lip service to it, then it will redirect funds and energy to the industry for the players to operate efficiently,” he added.

Story: Maxwell Adombila Akalaare/Daily GRaphic