THE Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) is a statutory national technical ministry under the Office of the Civil Service (OCS), whose mandate is to oversee the formulation and implementation of national tourism policies and related issues, including promotion, regulation and control of the sector.
MOTAC effectively champions and drives the national overall tourism development aspirations and vision, as the Ministry is mandated to ensure the mainstreaming of tourism and its subsectors of culture, creative arts, hospitality and catering, clothing and textiles and the performing arts seamlessly into the overall national socio-economic development agendum.
It was created by an Executive Instrument 1993 (EI93) and formally established as the Ministry of Tourism (MOT). It underwent realignments and rebranding over the years and designated at one time or the other variously including tourism and modernization of the capital city (MOT&MOC), tourism and diaspran relations (MOTDR), tourism, creative arts and culture (MOTCAC) to its present designation as tourism, arts and culture (MOTAC), since 2017 by executive instrument 2017 (EI 17) and still counting.
MOTAC executes its mandate through implementing agencies and currently has eleven (11) body corporates as its main frontline and key implementing agencies. They are the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), National Commission on Culture (NCC), the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMBB) and the Ghana Tourist Development Company Limited (GTDC). The rest are Osagyefuo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park (KNMMP),Dr.WEB Dubois Memorial Centre, Dr. George Padmore Memorial Pan-African Research Library, the National Theatre of Ghana and the Ghana Folklore Board. Others include Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) and the Hotel, Catering and Hospitality Training Institute (HOTCATT) as well as the Bureau of Ghana Languages.
An efficient and effective private sector is an indispensable and an essential element in the tourism value chain, where it is said that the public sector creates the enabling and conducive business ecosystem environment with attractive laws, regulatory, tax and other soft business friendly and attractive environment for the private sector to lead in the tourism development drive.
Section Forty-Two (42) of the Tourism Act 2011, Act 817 vividly captures the importance of the tourism private sector and effectively provided thus,” there shall be a Public-Private Partnership Forum (PPPF), to encourage public-private partnerships, to promote tourism development opportunities, the Forum shall be organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the GTA and the private sector.”
The tourism sector has an effective private sector which is organized under the banner of Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF). GHATOF is the trade association of all tourism trade associations in the country.
Mrs. Bella Ahu, a seasoned tourism practitioner is the current president of GHATOF.
The Ministry has and enjoys an effective and a very cordial harmonious working relationship with the private sector, through GHATOF. The private sector also occupies the strategic key board chair position on the GTA governing board as provided for by section four of the Tourism Act 2011, Act 817.
The Ministry mores so has another warm relationship with the Musicians Union of Ghana, (MUSIGA) another vibrant private sector trade association.
The young National Film Authority (NFA) is another important body corporate that would go a very long way to add colour and weight to the country’s tourism ecosystem.
Creative Arts Agency
The newly legislated Creative Arts Agency Act and the newly created Creative Arts Agency is also expected to take the public-private partnership to higher heights, when the agency is given effect to, effectively bring the creative arts sector to the frontline as an integral aspect of the national tourism-mix.
The Tourism Act 2011, 10 Years on… (1)
LEGISLATIONs and legal regimes are for specified and specific purposes and intents.
Outstanding legislation include national constitutions, statues and charters of international bilateral and multilateral institutions among others.
Legislations as international best industry practice in democratic dispensations and practice is the sole preserve and has been the general mandate of sovereign parliaments, by members of parliament (MPs), the people’s representatives who are empowered to enact legislation for and on behalf of the citizenry, through well-defined and laid-down parliamentary procedure and process.
Legislations and legal regimes are however, not events that are cast in stone but work in progress, which are and must be subjected to rigorous regular assessments, evaluations, reviews and amendments periodically, so that the enactments and the regimes are in tandem with the dynamics of the times and society.
Act 817, 2011, is captioned as the Tourism Act, it is the national tourism specific legislation and stands out as the country’s most current tourism legislation on our statues. The Legislation was enacted over ten (10) years ago, considering the rigorousness of parliamentary legislation and enactment processes and procedures. The Law received presidential assent and came into effect on 16th May, 2011.
The law has 4-key thematic and very commendable provisions, as remarkable and outstanding features that make Act 817 stand-out as a legislative master piece.
These provisions included the creation of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), a better resourced body corporate that replaced the erstwhile handicapped Ghana Tourist Board, as the statutory national tourism regulator as well as the provision to establish the Tourism Development Levy / Fund (TDF), a statutory tax and fund, to fund and promote accelerated national tourism development.
The third outstanding and commendable provision of the Act as a very progressive legislative piece is the creation of a hitherto GTA District Offices, (GTADOs, which supports and promotes decentralized tourism development. The fourth (4th) unique and remarkable feature of the law created the Public-Private Partnership Forum (PPPF), an indispensable oxygen that makes tourism evolution thick and heavy.
Ghana Tourism Authority
The Tourism Act 2011, Act 817 in section one (1) paragraph one created the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) as the statutory national tourism regulator and the frontline implementing agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC).
Section two of the law gives the object of the GTA as “to promote the sustainable development of the tourism industry internationally and within the country.”
The Law in section four (4) provided and created an 11-Member Governing Body for the Authority, consisting of representatives from the private sector, which chairs the Board and others from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), GTA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), ministries of finance and economic planning (MOFEP),local government , rural development and decentralization (MOLGR&D),lands and natural resources (MOLNR),chieftaincy and religious affairs (MOC&RA) and environment, science ,technology and innovation (MOESTI).
The enactment in section three gave GTA a sixteen-point guideline and tasks it, to implement to attain its objectives, among include to implement and ensure compliance to regulations developed in accordance with the Act, grant licences for the tourism industry, regulate and supervise tourism enterprises, as well as regulate and monitor the activities of licensees. The law mandates GTA to initiate, conduct, promote and encourage studies for the growth and development of the tourism industry.
Additionally, the law tasked the Authority to ensure pro-poor, sustainable and responsible tourism development in the country. It further imposed on GTA the responsibility to develop standards and guidelines for designs for use at tourist attractions and enterprises to reflect Ghanaian culture. The need to take appropriate measures for the safety and security of consumers of the tourism industry and the collection, compilation and publication of information and statistics in respect of activities regulated under this act as well as advise the Minister of Tourism on policy issues generally on matters related to the tourism industry are other demands that the law imposed on the Ghana Tourism Authority.
Other GTA responsibilities as provided by the law are to identify and acquire suitable land for tourism development as well as perform any other functions incidental or conducive to the attainment of the object of the Authority as frontline and key responsibilities that the Tourism Act imposed on the Authority.
The law more so obliged GTA to ensure collaboration with other public, private and international agencies such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the African Union (AU), the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa , Conservation International, the UN Environmental Programme, local and international educational institutions, the Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty Foundation (STEPS)and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) among others.
Also the law empowers and mandates the Authority to investigate and take measures to eliminate illegal, dishonourable, unsound and improper activities in relation to any activity regulated under this law.
The law also tasked the authority to oversee the administration of the Tourism Development Fund as well as ensures that the Fund is used for the required purposes, including funding for tourism and tourism-related projects and programmes, marketing and promotion of tourism, capacity building , market research, tourism infrastructure, development and promotion of other entrepreneurial activities, tourism export trade-oriented activities and institutions, tourism education and training among others .
Regional & District Offices
Sections fifteen (15) and sixteen (16) of the law provided and created GTA regional (GTAROs) and district (GTADOs) offices of the Authority respectively, who perform functions determined by the GTA Board.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the law was enacted some ten years ago, it is therefore very appropriate to evaluate and review the progress of the law, to effect needed amendments, to address noted shortcomings in the enactment, for the country’s tourism continues progress.
The Writer is a Tourism, Brands & Communication Analyst.