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$4b tourism targets unrealistic if hotels dread suffocating taxes – Hoteliers tell Gov’t

The Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has warned, Government’s tourism drive cannot be sustained if nothing is done to address the suffocating taxes, levies and charges threatening players in the hospitality industry.

The Association laid bare these concerns speaking to the media on the sidelines of a health walk held on the August 4th Founders Day Holiday; on the principal streets of Kumasi.

Its president Dr. Edward Ernest Ackah-Nyamike, argued that though government has earmarked priority funds to improve on memorial parks, eco-tourism sites, museums, amusement parks and other centers of tourist attraction in Ghana; the investment will remain lopsided if the hospitality industry is saddled with challenges stifling its development.

“One of the strong pillars of tourism is hospitality and if you narrow it down, it is accommodation. So if you continue to market tourism and you forget about the fundamentals and its operational cost, total work done is zero,” he explained.

Riding on the back of President Akufo Addo’s Special Summit on Tourism and the ‘Beyond The Return’ drive; the Ministry of Tourism Creative Arts and Culture, aims to achieve a target of two million international arrivals by 2025 with an estimated targeted earning of $4bn.

A vibrant, well-resourced and properly positioned Hospitality industry with competitive rates effectively play a major role either attracting or deterring visitors from choosing Ghana as a destination for visits.

Dr Ackah-Nyamike JNR however contended that hotel managers cannot be blamed for Ghana’s high hotel rates insisting the trend, is the result of taxes, fees and charges that the state continues to pile on such facilities.

He told GHONE News’ Reynold Dadzie, “You are taking 15% for VAT ; ANOTHER 2.5% FOR GETFund; 2.5% for NHIL;; YOU ARE TAKING 1% FOR COVID 19 which we have said should be scrapped; you are taking 1% for Ghana Tourism Development Fund and several others.

“When we put all of these together plus the fees we are paying to the various regulators, then people are forced to find a means out of this because businesses need to survive,” Dr Ackah – Nyamike bemoaned.

Dr Edward Ernest Ackah – Nyamike further expressed concern about what he described as unfair targeting by utility providers pegging bills for hotels at cut throat prices far above announced tariff increments.

“Recently we had a challenge with the Public Utility Regulatory Commission. It announced 8.5% increase in water tariffs in February; only for our bills to come and it was 167%. Who does that,” he questioned.

Dr Ackah Nyamike challenged owners of hotels who were not yet part of the Association to join the body to forge a stronger front and a unified voice to advocate and negotiate better economic conditions for its constituents.

Ghana’s Tourism falls within the first five biggest contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sector generated some 4.9% of GDP before COVID, ranking forth behind Cocoa; Gold and Oil.

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