Tourism, Arts, Aviation & Hospitality outlook diary: Post Covid-19 reconstruction & restoration

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African Travel & Tourism sector

LEGISLATION AND Legal Regimes (LLRs) are indispensable and important to the health and progress of professions, vocations and industries everywhere in the world.  The LLRs become more indispensable when the profession and or the industry concerned is very universal, competitive and very sensitive like tourism, health, trade agriculture.

Ghana has an evergreen and burgeoning infant tourism industry that currently ranked as the fourth largest contributor to Gross Domestic (GDP), which has shown encouraging promise with consistent   and improved growth in revenue and visitor numbers over the years.

 Act 817, 2011

The Eight Hundred & Seventeenth (817th) Enactment /Act of the Sovereign Parliament of the Republic of Ghana was enacted eleven years, specifically in 2011. It was enacted to establish the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), to regulate the tourism industry and to provide for related matters.

The enactment received President Assent on 16th May, 2011. Act 817 is one important enactment on our statues that is key, promotes and champions the accelerated development, growth and evolution of Ghana’s evergreen burgeoning infant tourism industry.

Outstanding and Key Features

Act 817 is a legislative piece which is unique in a number of ways, including been the most current tourism related domineering legislation piece on our statues.  It has four (4) key essential and outstanding features and thematic provisions, these include national tourism administration, promotion, regulation and control, the administration and management of the Tourism Development Fund (TDF). It also provided for Regional and District Tourism Offices (GTAROs) and GTADOs respectively across the country as well as tourism Public-Private Partnership Forum.

Details Ghana Tourism Authority

The enactment is captioned the Tourism Act 2011. The Act in page one paragraph one first and foremost The Law first and foremost formally created the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), a body corporate as the foremost and frontline statutory national tourism regulator and the lead  implementing agency (IA) of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC), in section one (1).

The Authority as  body corporate (BC)  has dual mandate, as the statutory national tourism regulator (NTR) as well as the national  destination management organization , (DMO)  and manager)  for Ghana as a national corporate brand among the comity of nations and their sovereign national tourism identities, as the foremost frontline and strategic  implementing agency (SIA) of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture  (MOTAC), the foremost national technical ministry (NTM) under the Office of the Civil Service (OCS) , as far as the overall national tourism development, specifically repositioning the tourism sector as an integral and main key pillars in the overall national socio-cultural and economic development and transformation agendum is concerned.  

Section Two (2) of the Law stated the, “to promote the sustainable development of the tourism industry internationally and within the country”, as the object of the GTA.

Governing Board

The Tourism Law in section four (4) on the other hand  created and provided for  an eleven (11)-Member Governing Body Board (GBB)  for the GTA, consisting of a Chairperson who is from the private sector , three persons appointed from the tourism private sector with the requisite professional qualification taking gender balance into consideration and a representative each, who is not below the rank of Director  from the private sector, which chairs the Board and others  drawn from  the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), 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) as well as the GTA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who shall perform the functions of the Authority.

Mr. Adjei Baah Becomes New GTA Board Chairman

The reconstituted GTA Board and Non-Executive Directors, which was inaugurated on September 14 , had the late Mr. Charles Osei-Bonsu, a former Acting Executive Director, GTA and a member of the immediate past Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministerial Advisory Board and a presidential nominee  the immediate Board  Chairman, unfortunately passed on in December last year.

Mr. Seth Adjei Baah, a former Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw, a businessman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ramada Beach Resort, Teshie-Nungua and also former President of Ghana Chamber of Commerce has been appointed as the New Board Chairman of the Ghana Tourism Authority.

Other presidential nominees on the current Board include Mrs. Dentaa Amoateng MBE, Madam Comfort Yamoah and Mr. Gbati Jacob Najombe as well as Mr.Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer, GTA.

Other are John Yao Agbeko, Chief Director, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is the Ministry’s representative on the board, whilst Mrs. Cecilia Sheitu Nyadia and Mr. Samuel Seth Passah represent the Ministries of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MOESTI) and Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MOLGD&RD), Mrs. Eva Esselba Mends, Ministry of Finance Mrs. Fati Lily Soale, Ministry of Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs and Mohammed Abdul-Karim represents the Ministry of Lands  and Natural Resources.

  Mandate

The Tourism Law moreover in section three (3) GTA the statutory national tourism regulator, a sixteen-point mandate and or guideline and tasks, 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 is also the mandate of the Authority.

Others

Other GTA’s responsibilities  imposed on GTA as provided by Act 817 are include 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, 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.

Regional / District Tourism Offices

The law in section fifteen (15) dealt with Regional Offices (GTAROs) of the Authority, whilst section sixteen (16) of the Act also stands-out as one other outstanding and commendable provision in the Law, provided and created Ghana Tourism Authority District Tourism Offices (GTADTOs) offices of the Authority respectively, who perform functions determined by the GTA Board, to promote decentralized tourism development.

Tourism Development Levy /Fund

Additionally the Tourism Act in sections Twenty-one to Twenty-four (21-24) created and established   the Tourism Development  Levy/Fund (TDL/F) , to “ provide funding for tourism and tourism-related projects and programmes,   together with a representative of the Controller and Accountant-General, including to arrange for effective and efficient collection of monies assigned to TDL/F, identify other sources of funding, co-ordinate and ensure total and timely accountability of the Fund, prepare and publish procedures for disbursement of the Fund , formulate general financial strategies and policies for the growth of TDL/F , evaluate  and approve projects in need of funding, review the annual programmes and projects submitted by the public and private sector agencies for funding “.

Management

The TDL/F  is , “administered by the GTA Governing Board and a representative of  the Controller & Accountant-General, the monies for DTL/F shall be paid into a Bank Account opened by the Board, (GTA Governing Board), with approval of the controller and Accountant-General, in furtherance of subsection (1) the Board (GTA Board), shall arrange for the effective and efficient collection of monies assigned to the Fund (TDF), identify other sources of funding , co-ordinate and ensure total and timely accountability of the Fund and also prepare and publish  procedures for disbursement of the Fund”, according to Act 817, section 24.

Board’s Obligation & Mandate

The GTA Governing Board as provided  by section four of the Tourism Act effectively has a very herculean and demanding dual  mandate and obligation to, firstly to provide leadership to aid and guide GTA , to initiate policies which would aid the Authority in performance  and the delivery of its 16-point functions obligation, as the statutory national tourism regulator , as stated  in section three (3) of the Law, especially 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 is also the mandate of the Authority.

Others

Other GTA’s responsibilities  imposed on GTA as provided by Act 817 are include 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, 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.

Defects & Omissions on Act 817  

The enactment of the Tourism Act 2011, Act 817 spelt a new chapter on Ghana’s tourism narrative trajectory  , marking the dawn of new era on the national tourism development trajectory  in several senses , including the formal creation of Ghana Tourism Authority,  a body corporate and the lead implementing agency of the  Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Tourism Development Levy and Fund, the Tourism Public –Private Partnership Forum and the provision for Ghana Tourism Authority Regional and District Offices (GTA-ROs ) and GTA-Dos) , across the country  are four key  outstanding and commendable provisions the Tourism Act 2011, Act 817 are remarkable features that make Act 817  stands-out as a master piece national tourism legislation, (NTL), however a cursory perusal of the Law points to some defects in the Law. The defects and omissions on the law include firstly the failure of the framers of the law to make it an in-depth and holistic document which covers man-made, natural, cultural and heritage four key subsectors in the holistic tourism-mix.

UNWTO

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is a Madrid, Spain based United Nations specialist agency that has mandate for tourism and has accordingly champions and promotes sustainable and pro-environmental tourism development and evolution around the world.

Best Industry Practices & Protocols

The astute UN specialist agency recruits the cream dela cream of tourism experts and specialist from around the world.

It  researches, commissions and conducts regular studies into tourism development and industry trends around the world, whose findings are made available to member countries, destinations, facilities, investors, practitioners and other identified industry stakeholders , aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable tourism development around the world.

I: 10

Convention 1:10 stands out as the most prominent of all time among tourism best industry practices among others, which states that a very vibrant domestic tourism industry is indispensable to sustainable and impactful and meaningful tourism development and therefore emphasizes that one every one single international touristic tourism undertaking at a destination and or a facility, there must be ten (10) corresponding or reciprocal domestic or indigenous touristic activities at the destination involved.

Aside 1: 10 , the UN has searched into and developed other cutting edge best industry practice guidelines, rules , regulations and conventions that all member countries, destinations and industry practitioners are obliged to adopt, apply and abide to in their individual and collective tourism development endeavours, to ensure sustainable tourism development and evolution with less and or minimal environmental impact.

Additionally tourism is an inclusive industry that is founded on man-made, natural, cultural and heritage resources, a cursory analysis of  Act 817  indicate and make the Law stands-out as a much narrowed legislative piece that does not encompass all the four main man-made, natural, cultural and heritage tourism resource sub-broad classifications.

Expensive Destination

Ghana currently very unpleasant standing as very expensive destination,  the expensive destination tag is made worse by the lack and absence of national hospitality legislation regime and policy, which does not bode well for the country’s national  tourism development aspirations.

Research Conclusions

The country has seen and recorded continuous improved tourism development and growth on year on year basis over the years, however conclusions from multiple researches and studies on Ghana’s tourism sector performance have concluded that the country’s tourism growth is below its real capacity, which according to various studies is attributable a number of challenges and defects, including high national ignorance on multiples socio-economic benefits of tourism development, low and poor national budgetary allocation and funding to tourism, outdated , duplicative and defective national tourism legislation and legal regime, un-holistic and narrow national tourism development policy formulation and implementation,  relegation and neglect of indispensable tourism industry absence and lack of national hospitality development policy among other defects on the national tourism development strategic blueprint (NTDSB).

Ministerial pedigree, mission & vision

Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC) Alhaji Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed AWAL’s appointment as sector minister in 2021 could not have come at any better time than now, the minster assumed office  with very deep knowledge  and understanding of the Ghanaian infant tourism industry, business acumen, public and private sector practice and administrative experiences, consultancy , communication, marketing  among other pedigrees which proved as the relevant, suitable and the  crucial soft assets, expertise and skills that Our Homeland Ghana needs badly at this era of our national tourism development, growth and evolution, which the minister cogently laid bare as his mission and vision , to turn the country’s tourism fortunes and health around, to  transform the country into competitive and attractive and  above all reposition tourism as the foremost revenue contributor and earner to National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), during his vetting at Parliament Appointment Committee (PAC), in 2021.

Resolution

Tourism is very much relevant  to our national socio-economic diversification and development aspiration now more than ever, the covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore  the defects and omissions on the  current national tourism legislation, legal regime as well as the national tourism development strategy.

Review & reengineer Act 817

There is an urgent need for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and its frontline implementing agencies including the Ghana Tourism Authority, the National Commission on Culture, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, the Ghana Tourist Development Company Limited, the National Theatre of Ghana, the National Folklore Board, the Bureau of Ghana Languages, the Hotel, Catering and Hospitality Training Institute and other strategic industry stakeholders and industry players to mobilize resources and take proactive steps to comprehensively review, rework and reengineering on the eleven (11)-year old Tourism Act 2011 , Act 817.

The Writer is Tourism, Brands & Branding, Communication & Marketing Consultant, Practitioner, Analyst, Advocate & Activist

 

 

 

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