The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has warned operators of hospitality facilities which have defaulted in the payment of the domestic tourism levy to pay immediately or risk closure by the end of this week.
Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in-charge of Operations, GTA, said the GTA would not entertain delays in payment of the levy as the levy was needed to grow and develop the tourism industry.
Speaking during an enforcement exercise in Accra yesterday, he said it was illegal for operators of hospitality facilities to collect the levy from patrons for keeps although they were required by law to promptly pay the levy.
The week-long exercise resulted in the closure of Country Kitchen at Osu while other tourism establishment including Oak Plaza, Enda Restaurants and MJ Grand Hotel had to cough-up monies to pay the levies to avoid shutdown.
He explained that the exercise was to ensure strict compliance in the payment of the levy.
It was also to assess and ensure that quality and standards, safety and security in the tourism industry were not compromised by the hospitality and tourism facilities in the lead up to the festivities, he stated.
"All we are asking the operators is to promptly pay the tourism levy to the Authority when patrons pay to them. We need the levy to develop and sustain our tourism industry and lead to an improvement in service delivery.
It is needed for tourism and tourism-related projects through marketing and tourism promotion, capacity building, market research and development of tourism infrastructure," Mr Sampson added.
He further appealed to stakeholders to regularly pay the tourism levy to provide funding to the Authority to market and promote Ghana's tourist resources.
He said Ghana's growing image as a preferred tourism destination offered huge potentials for the economy through job creation, infrastructure development and business growth.
Since its introduction in 2011, the Tourism Levy (Act 817) has faced numerous challenges including delayed payment by operators of hospitality facilities and collection which was hampered by poor records keeping by some operators, under-declaration of sales and non-availability of managers of establishments, among others.