Accra, June 6, GNA - The Government has been urged to waive taxes on imported tools and equipment used in the hospitality industry to reduce operational cost which is transferred to the customer. Mrs Efua Otuwaa Goode-Arthur, Director of EKGS Institute, school of advanced cake designing, catering and d=E9cor, made the proposal at the 11th Graduation Ceremony of the institute in Accra.
She said the development of tourism was a means of diversifying the economy, adding that as indicated in the Ghana Hospitality Development document, tourism provides an important opportunity for economic development based on natural, historic and cultural resources of the country.
She said the country could add value to the tourism industry, "if we keep the cost of training professionals and the overhead cost very low. She therefore urged district assemblies to give priority to tourism development in their annual expenditure estimates.
Mrs Goode-Arthur said the benefit that would accrue to the nation would be greater and far-reaching, surpassing revenue from taxes. "Indeed, in this business, what puts many uninterested youth off are the cost of tools and equipment to start with.
"We all appreciate the efforts being made by the government to generate employment for the teeming youth who roam the streets but until the government waive taxes on imported items to be used in the hospitality industry, the skill programme cannot make the desired impact."
This is because if the trainees cannot afford the basic tolls for the trade, they would always go back onto the streets, she added. Mrs Goode-Arthur noted that currently, tourism was flourishing in the Country, indicating that the hospitality industry was developed to meet the challenges of tourism development.
In a speech read for him, Alhaji Rashid Bawa, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital, noted that there is still more to be done to enable Ghana to realise her potentials in the hospitality sector.
"If Ghana is to win the intense global competition for tourists, then the country must project the image of niche tourist destination with a mix tourist product that cannot be found elsewhere, and which is safe and secure."
He urged service providers in the industry to make Ghana a special and different African destination. "It is necessary that we all, who provide tourist facilities, accommodation, food and drinks adopt a new attitude to whatever we do to give the country the unique image required for winning the competition."
Seventy-five graduates of the Institute received certificates in cake making and decorating; pastry making; cookery; balloon, and ribbon craft, as well as floral arrangement.
There was an exhibition of cake and pastry by the graduates.