Ghana Tourism Authority to clamp down on enterprises unlicensed, defaulting levy
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) will from today, September 17, 2023, embark on the annual nationwide levy enforcement exercise to shut down tourism facilities which have refused to pay the 1 per cent Tourism Levy, Deputy CEO, Operations, Ekow Sampson has warned.
The exercise which is in line with the Tourism Act 2011 (Act 817), will also include illegal Tourism Enterprises which are operating without registration and licensing from the Authority.
The exercise will begin in five regions – Greater Accra and Tema, Eastern Region, Ashanti Region, Central Region and Western Region while the remaining regions will be conducted later.
The Authority is mandated by law under the Tourism Act 817 to register and license all Tourism Enterprises such as hotels, spas, guest houses, serviced apartments, hostels, home lodges, restaurants, fast food joints, traditional catering establishments (chop bars), drinking bars, travel agencies, entertainment centres, banquet halls, conference facilities, pubs, night clubs, tour companies and car rentals.
Consequently, all tourism entities, including apartments operating AirBnB without a valid license from the GTA must proceed to register while those already licensed must ensure to pay up all outstanding levies before the enforcement of the exercise.
Non-compliance by tourism operators will attract 100 penalty units or six years imprisonment.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Mr Ekow Sampson mentioned that his outfit together with the Ghana Police Service would undertake the exercise across the country.
He appealed to the public, especially those who patronize such facilities to enquire for their operational licenses to avoid being evacuated unawares.
“This exercise will start tomorrow and we will make sure that units that do not have licenses of the Ghana Tourism Authority are prosecuted. We cannot take the law into our hands so we will be working with the Ghana Police Service across the country,” he said.
“One area that we also noticed is those who are not paying their levies so all of them are going to be affected. We entreat all the citizens that are patronising these illegal units to desist from it because if they don’t have license that means they are not paying taxes and that is an offence,” he added.