GTA accrues US$9m from tourism levy in 6yrs

…stakeholders say amount is meagre

Stakeholders in the country’s tourism industry have expressed worry over the inadequate promotion of activities in the sector to derive maximum returns on their investments.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Funding Tourism Investments’, at the Ghana Tourism Investment Summit in Accra, CEO of the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), Mr. John Awuah, explained that tourism which is one of the key industries driving change on the continent, should not be taken for granted in Ghana.

He disclosed that collection of tourism levy by the Ghana Tourism Authority, which begun in 2012 with UMB as one of the three partner banks, has accrued to some US$8.9 million after six years of collection.

“Although the growth in collected levies is promising, the amount collected is woefully inadequate in funding tourism investments and development projects in Ghana,” Mr. Awuah said.

He noted that inadequate understanding of the industry by businessmen who want to invest in the sector, also serve as hurdle to the industry.
He however said the lack of enabling infrastructure including good roads, water, electricity and sanitation, makes it difficult for investors to make financial commitments into the tourism sector.

“Other operational issues such as unavailability of local operational skills in destinations, quality assurance and standards, safety and security issues also hinders financing the sector,” he said.

Describing the US$9 million as the beginning point of a massive breakthrough in the tourism sector, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman said the GTA registered 304 new facilities which would in the long process augment Ghana’s tourism returns.

“The emergence of new businesses particularly hotels and restaurants in the hospitality sector gives a sigh of relief that we are making a gradual progress to becoming the continent’s tourism hub” he said.

The country’s flagship Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project Mr. Agyeman explained would change the face of Ghana’s tourism industry while offering jobs to Ghanaians.

CEO of the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), Mr. Kwadwo Odame Antwi, told Goldstreet Business that his outfit is currently building partnership with investors and developers to attract capital financing to execute various tourism projects across the country.

“As part of our strategic focus and to add to our nation’s tourism appeal, both locally and internationally, we are pursuing iconic projects to increase visitor traffic, create jobs and grow the contribution of tourism to Ghana’s GDP” he explained.

In intensifying tourism promotion he said, “We have initiated some iconic projects such as Ghana Centre of the World, GH Akwaaba Hotels (Project 20), Tourist Site Development across the country and several other initiatives.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe

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