Ghana: GTA Closes Down Two Guest Houses, Threatens More

After closing down two sub-standard guest houses/lodges at Zuarungu and Yikene, all suburbs of Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has given strong indications it would close down more of such sub-standard guest houses/lodges if the owners do not comply with acceptable industrial standards.

The authority contended that it had been carrying out unannounced inspections of guest houses and lodges in the region, which showed that many of them had fallen short of the industrial standards, and needed to be closed down.

Addressing reporters in Bolgatanga after closing down the Gumah Lodge at Zuarungu for poor structure and lack of basic facilities, and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Guest House at Yikene on the Bolgatanga-Navrongo road for operating illegally and ignoring to get authorization, even after a grace period, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Alhaji Hakeem Ishmael, has warned that more of such enterprises would be closed down in the coming days and months, if their managers refuse to comply.

He said his office had given managers of those guest houses and lodges a grace period to raise them up to the acceptable standards before they could continue to be in business, but they did not utilise the grace period, and continued to operate, thus their closure.

Meanwhile, some of the guest houses were operating without permits had earlier been closed down. "Those who are operating without permits have been closed down, as well as those with serious structural defects. Those with structural defects will remain closed until the defects are rectified, and those operating without authorisation will have to get licensed before we reopen them," the Director disclosed, and again warned that on his next inspection schedule, those who would still ignore his directive would have their places closed down.

Alhaji Hakeem explained that at Gumah Lodge, some rooms did not have plastered ceilings, the concrete was bare with fungus growing on the surface and in between the cavities; there were also cracks on some of the walls, and had poorly covered drains and drinking well.

He also said some newly added rooms were so close to the main Bolgatanga-Zuarungu road and had shoddy corridor barricades, which exposed the occupants to danger.

According to the Director, the facilities would remain closed until their managements comply by meeting the standards required of them, warning that if the management of the facilities flout the closure notice, they would face the full rigours of the law.

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