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Hotel Owners Kick Against Gov’t Akwaaba Hotels

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The Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has kicked against government’s move to build ‘Akwaaba hotels’ which aims at improving the growth of domestic tourism in Ghana.

According to the President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah Nyameke Junior, government should rather support the private sector to creating an enabling environment for the industry to thrive.

Speaking on Accra based Hot FM, Tuesday morning, Dr Nyameke said there were basic indicators that made operations of hoteliers go high leading to high cost of hotel accommodation.

“Our point is that, lets deal with the economic environment that makes the rate to go high and interrogate them. What we need from government is tax reduction, more cuts in utility tariffs and import duties to reduce the operation cost as well as the hotel rates in Ghana,” he said.

He argues that if government can fix the areas that make cost of production high, then the cost of accommodation may reduce.

The Ministry of Tourism had earlier argued that the setup of the Akwaaba Hotels was to have affordable hotels in the country but the GHA president says, “…the Akwaaba hotels could be cheaper, yes, they may start cheap but with time, the economic environment would not allow you to charge cheaper rates and you come back to square one.”

Drawing lessons from history, Dr Nyameke noted that the state was not good at managing hotels.

In response to this assertion, the Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Madam Catherine Afeku said, government would not build the hotels as perpetuated by the GHA.

Catherine Abelema Afeku-Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts
Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts

“The ministry would look for the lands, we would take the cost of the land and we would do a visibility study and take it to the market and look for a private investor to come and build hotels that would be affordable in order to promote domestic tourism,” she explained.

Give Us A Tourism Bank

Instead of Akwaaba hotels, the GHA is calling for government to give them a bank that would augment tourism by allowing hospitality investors to borrow money at low interest rates.

“…ADB was the brain behind the agriculture sector to encourage investment in Agriculture sector. When investors went to collect loans from ADB, the interest rate was almost zero. We need something related to tourism―Tourism bank,”

The GHA therefore called on the tourism minister to consider their plea adding that, the initiative would go down in her name as a good legacy.

Madam Afeku said, the ministry is already in talks with some regular banks to have dedicated funds to support the hospitality industry.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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