The Hotel Association is accusing the Ghana Tourism Authority of misappropriating the one percent tourism levy. The Tourism Development levy is the one percent of the cost payable by a patron of a tourism facility.
According to the Association, monies supposed to be used for the development of the tourism and hotel sector is being used to purchase vehicles for the Authority.
As at June 2016, the fund had accrued GHC22 million since it was instituted in 2012. About 87 per cent of the collection was from the hotel industry, while drinking bars, car rentals and others collected about 13 per cent. The Hotel Association is angry that the fund managers have spent about GHC11 million of the monies on operational expenses with a large amount used to purchase pick up vehicles.
According to them, even though its members are the major contributors to the fund, it has not received any direct benefit for the past four years.
“No monies have been spent, not GHC1 appears to have been spent on the business of tourism development for Ghana. For that, I am talking about using it to create advertising or to improve the attraction or to improve the road ways so that more people can hear about us and be attracted to visit Ghana and visit our attraction areas , and therefore stay in the hotels and add to tourism, ” Ben Idan, the Central Regional Chairman of the Hotel Association told Starr Business at the Hotel Industry Conference Monday.
But the Ghana Tourism Authority has defended its use of the staggering amount on the purchase of the 18 vehicles for its operations. The Administrator of the Tourism Fund Abraham Tetteh told Starr Business the decision to acquire the vehicles is to intensify their operations which will go a long way to boost the fortunes of the sector.
“We couldn’t have visited the establishment to assess their challenges, the level of payment, collection and remittances if we hadn’t bought the vehicles. It is operational vehicle that we bought, and we needed to carry on with the marketing and promotion which is why we expended that portion of the fund. So I believe it is in the interest of the industry for us to do so, so that we could be able to do more, rake in the funds as expected,” the fund administrator, Abraham Tetteh told Starr Business.