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Ministry charges GTA to sanction unlicensed operators   
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The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts has initiated steps to enforce standards and beef-up marketing techniques in the coming year to promote tourism, said Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, sector Minister.

In this regard, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has been charged to vigorously sanction all unlicensed and illegally operating tourism businesses, she said.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare, said this during the Nineth National Tourism Awards on Friday which was on the theme: “Gaining a Competitive Edge through Innovation and Service Excellence.”

She said Ghana was competing with much tourist traffic and could not afford to have a tourism landscape characterised by sub-standard facilities delivering services that did not meet international standards.

Already the tourism sector is faced with bad road network leading to tourist sites, inadequate water and electricity supplies in remote areas, poor service delivery, lack of capital for investment and lack of professional packaging.

Despite the challenges, the Ministry and its implementing agencies were putting into practice strategies to encourage domestic tourism, Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said.

Social groups such as churches, clubs, trade associations, corporate bodies and keep-fit clubs would be encouraged to embark on tours beginning 2014, she said.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare, called on the industry stakeholders and sponsors to help in any way feasible to advance the course of growing tourism into a more significant segment of the economy.

The Minister said: “Our collective efforts will help drive the sector to generate the much needed foreign exchange, create employment, generate income, eliminate poverty and consequently promote better livelihoods for the citizenry.”

The event was instituted to promote standards and reward service excellence in tourism industry.

Labadi Beach Hotel was crowned the best premier hotel of the year. The winners were rewarded with cash, air tickets, plaques and certificates.

The criteria for selection of winners were based on individuals and operators responsiveness to corporate social responsibility, fulfilment of environmental/sanitation standards.

It also includes the statutory regulations as well as business performance and payment of duties, declaration of profits, dividends to shareholders among others.

Others are workplace safety standards, visibility including number of branches, adherence to quality customer service and quality control.

The rest are number of employees, transparent recruitment together with open and fair management practices.
Source: GNA

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