Six hotels have been closed down in the Eastern Region for operating without the requisite licences from the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
Officials of the GTA and the Regional Police Command closed down the hotels last Monday, as part of a one-week clampdown on illegal tourism facilities in the region.
Two out of the six that were closed down were located at Akwamufie, two at Somanya and one each at Odumase-Krobo and Asesewa.
Facilities affected during Monday’s exercise included the Rehoboth Guest House, Ofie ni fie Guest House, both at Akwamufie, the Exclusive Edition Guest House at Odumase-Krobo, the Nene Epeku and Shai Royal hotels at Somanya and the Canasco Guest House at Asesewa.
Two drinking bars and a chop bar were also closed down at Atimpoku and Kpong.
More than 50 illegal facilities have been identified to be closed down by the end of the exercise on Monday, August 30, 2018.
The Eastern Regional Manager of the GTA, Mr Frederick Adjei-Rudolph, explained to journalists that the exercise was to ensure compliance with service standards for the safety of both local and foreign tourists.
“As a regulator, and with strict adherence to our responsibility to maintain standards and ensure compliance of Act 817, the Ghana Tourism Authority is embarking on this year’s Enforcement Exercise to clampdown on all known illegally operating facilities across the length and breadth of the region,” he stated.
Mr Adjei-Rudolph said the authority was targeting new facilities which had applied for licence but had stalled their registration processes and yet were operating.
He cited, for example, the Amadu Guest House located at Akoase in the Birim North District which applied for registration for over two years now.
“The Ghana Tourism Authority, as part of hotel registration processes, requested for some mandatory documents. It is discouraging to know that management of this facility and others in this same category have not submitted all the documents as of now and all efforts to get them do so have proven futile hence the need for closure”.
Also on the list are illegal operators who had never applied for registration.
” The Stargate Hotel located at Nteso Kwahu has been operating illegally for almost two years now. The regional office has made contacts personally with the owner and requested management to report to the office to start the registration processes without success.
“The office is now left with no other option than to enforce physical closure of this unit and similar ones in the same category”, he stated.
Facilities which have exhausted the renewal of their provisional licenses but are still operating will also be closed down.
“An example of such facility is the Ages Lodge in Koforidua which has exhausted the period within which the provisional license permits the facility to operate.
Within this period, management of the facility was unable to complete the registration processes. This enforcement programme will, therefore, ensure that units such as the Ages Lodge and others in the same category will halt operations”, he disclosed.
Mr Adjei-Rudolph said facilities that had been issued with a valid operational licence but had refused to pay and pick up the licence also risked closure.
“These are facilities that are duly registered and have been issued with a valid operational licence by the authority but have blatantly refused to pay the requisite license fee and pick up their operational licence. Technically, such facilities are operating without a licence”, he added.
The GTA licences are subject to annual renewal.