Two hotels in the Eastern Region have been closed down by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) for failing tourism levy as required by law.
They are the Continental Hotel at Atimpoku and Susu Sei Me at Koforidua.
The Fund Administrator of the GTA, Mr. Abraham Tetteh, who disclosed these here yesterday, said the Continental Hotel owed GH¢14,639 while the Susu Sei Me indebtedness was GH¢3,068.
He said 27 hotels in the Eastern Region owed the GTA development levy GH¢62,432.14.
Mr. Tetteh said the owners of the facilities had refused to pay the one per cent tourism development levy since 2013, while others only made part payments.
He said Afrikiko River Front Resort, at Atimpoku in the Asuogyaman district and Partners May Hotel, located in the New Juaben Municipality, escaped closure by honouring their indebtedness.
The Fund Administrator said in view of the huge indebtedness to the Authority, management had intensified enforcement of the Tourism Levy Act 817 of 2011 to ensure compliance in the region.
According to Mr. Tetteh who led the operation in the Asuogyaman District and the New Juaben Municipality, the tourism levy was established by an Act of Parliament, with the aim of protecting the nation’s tourism industry and raise funds to support it.
He said his outfit had no intention or interest in closing down businesses which put food on the table of the public and owners of the facilities, but insisted the right thing Had to be done by following the due processes, laws and regulations to bring sanity into the business.
The proprietors of all the hotels visited complained bitterly about over billing and too many taxes such as VAT, income tax as well as high utility bills which had adversely affected their operations.
At the Continental Hotel, the Accountant, Mr. Charles Boahen, deplored government’s inability to come out with incentives to promote the growth of the tourism industry saying, “we are always being bombarded with heavy taxes which will collapse our businesses.”
Citing other countries in Africa and Europe he said “while those countries are creating the right atmosphere for the industry to grow with good returns, we are rather killing ours”.
The Eastern Regional Manager of the GTA, Mr. Rudolph Adjei appealed to the owners of the facilities to visit the offices of the GTA to share their concerns and not to wait till the unexpected happens.
From: Samuel Opera Lartey, Atimpoku.