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22.04.2004 Business & Finance

Hotels urged to meet ECOWAS standards

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Bolgatanga, April 22, GNA - The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) on Wednesday directed that companies and individuals who are in the process of building hotels or guest houses should consult regional offices of the GTB for guidelines on the ECOWAS standards for Hotel classification. It also directed that persons intending to enter the hospitality business should contact the Board for advice and guidance.

This came up at a workshop on the new harmonized ECOWAS Standards for Hotel Classification organized in Bolgatanga by the GTB for Hotel and Guest House Managers and Proprietors drawn from the Upper East Region.

Speaking on the expectations of the new standards, Ms. Adeline Boateng, Quality Assurance Manager of the Board said it was more cost effective to adhere to the stipulated standards than to be refused an operational license or certification after completing a hotel building, or even have one's license revoked due to low standard as a result of ignorance.

Some of the requisite standards she mentioned include, good hygiene and sanitation around the hotel premises, good ventilation and adequate natural light and good drinking water.

Ms Boateng said other standards included well-furnished bedrooms, which should have well laid clean beds, writing table, lamp and armchair, foot rug, luggage rack and bed sheets that should be changed everyday for new guests and every two days for those staying for longer periods.

She advised the managers and proprietors to seek the advice of Fire Officers and train their staff on how to use fire extinguishers, keep first aid boxes, and ensure to keep away prostitutes who sometimes harass guests.

Mr. Edwin Owusu-Mensah, Acting Deputy Executive Director for Operations, explained that, similar workshops were being held all over the country to provide the platform for hotel operators to study the standards in details, understand the rationale and be able to implement them in the next two years.

"The ECOWAS protocol on tourism enjoins all member states to maintain uniform standards of hotel facilities and services. It is therefore obligatory for Ghana to comply with the standards set by ECOWAS".

He said even though the ECOWAS standards were high, Ghana was also adopting international standards to complement it.

Mr. Owusu-Mensah, however, added that the recurring problems of the lack of maintenance of facilities, poor services, untrained and poorly motivated staff and lack of re-investments in the hotel business would have to be overcome.

Participants appealed to the Board to organize training sessions for their staff and relate with them in a friendly manner and encourage them to improve their businesses rather than continue to offer negative and accusing criticisms.

They complained that the business was capital intensive and appealed to the government to speed up the opening of the Tourist Development Fund to enable them to access funds to upgrade their businesses.

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