The Tourism Bill in Parliament received a Presidential assent in May this year to become the Tourism Act, 2011 (ACT 817) that primarily seeks to enhance the development of the tourism sector, Mr Ben Ohene-Ayeh, Public Relations Manager, Ghana Tourism Authority, said in Accra yesterday.
The Tourism Law thus mandates the then Ghana Tourists Board to be replaced by the Ghana Tourism Authority, he explained, adding that the objective of the Tourism Authority was to strengthen and promote the sustainable development of the tourism industry internationally and within the country.
The ACT also comes with it the establishment of a Tourism Development Fund which will be used to finance the tourism industry and its related projects and programmes.
Mr Ohene-Ayeh in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the Authority will soon embark on a capacity building and market research programmes to help develop more tourism infrastructure.
He said the Tourism ACT also mandates the Authority to register and licence tourism enterprises and sites, saying, ï¿½A person shall not operate a tourism enterprise unless that person holds a valid licence issued by the Authority in respect of that tourism establishment.
Tourism enterprises include; operating a food joint or restaurant, drinking bars, hotels and guest houses, travel and tour businesses, traditional catering (Chop bar), night clubs, movie house or theatre among others in the hospitality industry.
Tourism ACT 817 also states that a person shall not manage a tourism enterprise or exercise overall control over the daily operation of the enterprise whether as the owner or manager unless that person is registered with the Authority.
Mr Ayeh explained that the Authority will establish a forum for private tourism enterprises owners or managers and officials of the Ghana Tourism Authority as well as the sector Ministry to discuss tourism development opportunities and together promote Ghanaï¿½s tourism.
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