The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has begun an exercise to close down 25 facilities operating illegally in the Eastern region.
The monitoring exercise, by the Eastern Regional Office of GTA started on Monday, June 27, 2022.
The Authority closed down 12 facilities such as hotels, guest houses, student hostels, and eateries at Koforidua and its environs on the first day.
Facilities operating without GTA operational license, and an expired license will be affected by the 10 days exercise.
Facilities issued with the closure notice under the supervision of police officers from the Eastern Regional Command include the "Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwifery Association (GRNMA) Guest House, Hotel De Gadon, Boahemaa Courtyard Hotel (B-Memo), Hallelujah Hostel, Elite Hostel, Frontline Hostel, Madiba Hostel, Eredec Hostel, Holiwood Canteen, Afi Local Kitchen, Acapolco Chop Bar" all located in Koforidua, as well as AKA Moondie Guest House located at Adawso on the Akwapim North District.
Other facilities is expected to be closed down within the remaining days of the exercise are, "Canasco Hotel (Asesewa), Nene Ekpeku Lodge (Somanya), Apple's Spot (Somanya), Garden Bridge Hotel (Kpong), Jamrok Bar & Event Centre (Senchi), Palimen Hotel (Asamankese), Lucky Sam's Guest House (Adukrom), Saeko Hospitality Complex-Annex (Mampong), Queenstar Hostel (Brekusu), Royal Gate Guest House (Nankese), Riches of Glory Guest House (Suhum), Lavco Hotel (Nsawam), No Case Guest House (Asuaba - Adeiso).
Violation of Legislative Instrument
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Eastern Regional Director of the GTA, Mr Frederick Rudolph-Adjei said an attempt to get owners of the facilities to complete their operational license registration and also pay their licensing fees to obtain license for their business has proven fruitless since 2019 and 2021 respectively.
He further explained that the facilities failed to meet the requirements provided under Legislative Instruments (L.I.) 2238 and 2239 (Tourism Regulations, 2016) which are, "Registration and Licensing of Food, Beverage and Entertainment Enterprise" and "Registration and Licensing of Tourist Accommodation" respectively, hence their closure.
"They do not have the GTA Operational License to operate. Some have not registered at all; some have started but have not completed their registration, and others have been licensed but failed to renew it [at a cost of GH¢ 50.00]”.
“The law says that, if you don't have the license regardless of the reasons you should not operate. Some of the facilities that are being closed down today have been closed down before; some have operated for over four years without a license. The last part of the exercise is prosecution and we hope we don't get there; but if we do, they will face law," he said.
Mr Rudolph-Adjei indicated that the GTA would be open to negotiating with facility owners to agree on a specific date to produce their necessary documents and as well as pay their administrative fees as they consider especially the effect it would have on students in some of these facilities.
"For the hostels, because they have students in them, when the owners pay the administrative fees we will see down with them and agree on a date which is good by us for them to produce the rest of their documents and sign an undertaken.
If they are not able to produce the documents, then we will have the legal backing to evacuate all the students. For the food and beverage facilities they have up to close of day to come and pay their operational license and administrative fees else their facilities will remain closed," he said.
He advised the citizens to do background checks on facilities, therefore, patronising it. "Check out for the operational license of facilities; if they don't have, you have no business being there because you cannot be assured of proper hygiene and safety. Also, be on the lookout for our closure notice; if you see one don't patronise the facility," Mr Rudolph-Adjei added.
Mr Kelvin Nongor, a level 100 student of Koforidua Technical University who reside in the Elite Hostel expressed frustration at the incident and called on the management of the hostel to as a matter of urgency resolve the issue with the GTA.
He added that in absence of any resolution, the management of the hostel should consider refunding part of their hostel fees to help them get new accommodation in order not to affect academic work.