Bolgatanga, Oct. 5, GNA – The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has urged all Travel and Tour companies to register with it, explaining that the Travel Trade Enterprise Registration and Licensing Regulation 2019, will standardize operations and ensure safety in the sector.
Mr Henry Yeleduor, the Upper East Regional Director of the GTA, noted that the Legislative Instrument of 2019, LI 2389, was to regulate the operations of travel and tour companies and agencies to ensure that they operated legally with the right facilities in place.
All registered companies would be issued licenses to guard their operations, he said.
Mr Yeleduor made the call in Bolgatanga while speaking to travel and tour operators at a seminar, organized by Sunlight Travel and Tours Limited with funding support from WIDU, a German based company.
The Regional Director noted that many of the travel and tour companies as well as tourist sites and guards were not registered and that was against the laws and regulations of the Authority.
Mr Yeleduor said in the Upper East Region, only two travel and tour companies had been licensed, while there was only one licensed travel agency in the region.
He noted four other travel agencies had expressed interest to be licensed but the processes had not started yet.
The Regional Director explained that the process of registration for a travel and tour company or agency was not cumbersome and called on tour operators to ensure their companies were duly registered and licensed to work according to standardized practice, to promote the safety of customers and boost the growth of the sector.
“Sites and tour guards must be registered and licensed to be able to operate,” he added.
The Regional Director who also spoke on the strategies to improve the tourism sector noted that it was currently the fourth foreign exchange earner of the country, had huge potentials of propelling accelerated economic growth and sustainable development.
He said in 2019 which was declared the ‘Year of Return’, the country received about 1,130 million visits and it was estimated to have contributed $3.3billlion to the economy.
“This was a growth of 18 per cent, which was above the global average growth of 4.5 per cent and total receipts from tourism boosted growth of 27.9 per cent over the previous year.
“In terms of employment, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that the sector supported 682,000 jobs, or 5.3 per cent of total national employment, in 2017,” he said.
He noted that when the relevant stakeholders made the tourism sector a focus of investment, more could be realized in terms of job creation, foreign exchange, and economic growth.
Mr Kofi Larbi, a Social Media Expert who schooled the tourism industry players on the use of social media to improve patronage, noted that having adequate knowledge about the tourist sites would inform the right social media channel one could employ to effectively communicate to attract patronage.
He said the right use of social media platforms particularly Facebook, was key to boosting the tourism sector as it exposed the tourism potentials to potential tourists and investors.
Mr Raymond Ayinne, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sunlight Travel and Tours Company Limited and Indigenous Tour Service Provider, noted that the workshop was meant to equip players in the tourism sector to provide quality services and project the culture and tourism heritage of Northern Ghana, particularly Upper East Region to the outside world.