Eleven hospitality businesses operating without licences in Accra have been closed down by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
This is the outcome of a compliance enforcement exercise undertaken by the GTA to bring all tourism enterprise operators into their records and streamline them as recognised businesses under the tourism industry.
The exercise follows a notice given by the authority on May 30, 2022 for all tourism enterprise operators to have their establishments duly registered and licensed by the GTA, as required by the governing law under section 25 (2) of the tourism Act 2011 (Act 817).
The Act requires all tourism enterprises such as hotels, event centres, pubs, night clubs, movie houses, guest houses and spas, entertainment centres, tour companies, car rentals, travel agencies, etc. to be registered and licensed by the GTA so that it can regulate and standardise the operations of these businesses.
During its compliance tour last Thursday (August 25), officials of the GTA found out that some businesses were operating without licences and thus closed and locked those facilities.
These closed-down tourism facilities include Gold 7 Guest house, Luna Gardens, WoodCote Guest house and Kleine Park Event Centre.
Others are Akorli's Inn Restaurant, Akorli's Hotel, The Catfish Grill, Adziban Fast Food, Eduanipa, The Cencor Venue and Safcal Lodge.
The Director of Corporate Affairs at the GTA, Jones Aruna Nelson, said there were many such enterprise operators who did not have the right documentation to legally operate.
He explained that the aim of the exercise was to bring all tourism enterprise operators into their records and streamline them as recognised businesses under the tourism industry.
The authority is mandated to regulate the activities of these enterprises and make sure they are operating within the standards set, conduct inspection as well as register and give licences.
"We do not intend to destroy their businesses. As much as possible, we operate with the private sector. There is a public-private partnership and so we just want to come together and make sure everyone is working within the standards" Mr Nelson intimated.
He also indicated that those were steps that would help coordinate the activities of the tourism industry to promote growth and strengthen partnerships.
In addition to that, all registered enterprises are required to pay a one per cent levy to the GTA.
Mr Nelson said that was to allow the authority to come to the aid of any enterprise that might find itself in a stifle.
"If you are operating without our notice and something happens to your client, we will not be able to help you.
“Once you are recognised in our books as a registered tourism enterprise and paying the one per cent levy alongside your licence fee, we are able to come to your aid in any situation," he said
Mr Nelson, therefore, encouraged operators who had not been licensed to visit the GTA head office or the regional offices to have their business registered.