- GTA cautions patrons of such facilities
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has called on hospitality patrons to be wary of illegal and unsuitable thatch-accommodations in the Ada estuary enclave within the Tema operational region of the Authority.
These facilities, numbering more than 10 – particularly at Azizanya, Kewunor and other adjourning communities in the estuary – according to the GTA have not been licenced to operate as accommodation units for tourists.
More of such accommodations are reportedly scattered along coastal parts of the country.
The Tema Regional Director of the GTA, Charles Buabin, told the B&FT that this canker is becoming pervasive as some tourists – predominantly from the Caribbean and others from Europe – prefer the weird experience of lodging in such thatch and dilapidated straw facilities.
In a recent periodical enforcement exercise in the region, he disclosed that these facilities just like some other unbefitting structures are not registered or licenced, and are operating below the acceptable standard and minimum requirements set out for accommodation units.
The Regional Director said some other facilities across the region have registered but refused to renew their licences, an act which contravenes the Tourism Act, Act 817.
With most of these illegal thatch structures being in operation for more than 20 years, the GTA has admitted that a substantial amount of revenue has been lost in registration and licencing fees over the years.
“These edifices began as NGOs and prayer-camps when tourism was not at the forefront. It was a strategic location between the river and the sea, which connotes a certain form of spirituality for people. These facilities have however been changed to accommodation units for tourists, operating for more than two decades as visitor numbers increased to the area. Unfortunately, most tourists want this weird experience of lodging in this kind of building,” Mr. Buabin noted.
Even though these thatch houses are declared not fit for purpose, some grand modern hotels are also contravening the law, Mr. Buabin disclosed.
The GTA said all thatch structures have been designated as security risk zones because they do not display police reports, which is a document needed to obtain a licence from the Authority.
“We can only ask patrons to be cautious and ask for the right documents – GTA licence, police report and environmental protection reports in such circumstances before patronising such structures.
Lack of 24-hour presence at the location
The Tema Regional Office of the GTA has called on the District Assembly in Ada to deepen surveillance on the area and ensure that such structures do not pose threats to visitors.
“We have appealed to the district to ensure that such facilities are monitored and given facelift by the owners to create a befitting experience. Failure to do this risks the area being prone to delinquencies” Mr. Buabin added.