Accra, Nov.22, GNA - The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) would from next year refuse operational licences to establishments whose crucial staff did not posses basic hospitality certificates from recognised institutions, Mr Martin Mireku, Acting Executive Director of the GTB, said on Tuesday. He said staff in the food and beverage sections of hotels and restaurants would also be subjected to periodic checks to ensure that food contamination was reduced to the barest minimum.
Mr Mireku, who was addressing members of the Hotel and Caterers International Management Association (HCIMA) at a day's seminar on food poisoning, said if the problem was not tackled vigorously it could greatly affect the tourism industry.
It was on the theme: "Poisoning the Tourism Consumer."
He noted that tourism was one of the three pillars of the nation's development agenda hence the need to put in place measures to ensure the safety of Ghanaians as well as tourists, who visited the country. Mr Jean Yaw Lucaz, Chief Executive Officer of Bronzzetti Management Consult, consultants in tourism, who delivered a paper on: "Impact of Food Poisoning on Tourism" noted that tourists spent 15 per cent of their money on food and that deliberate or accidental contamination of food might have enormous economic problem.
He mentioned direct economic losses attributed to the cost of responding to the act, indirect multiplier effects from compensation paid to affected producers and the losses suffered by affiliated industries, such as suppliers, transporters and the internal cost in the form of trade embargos imposed by trading partners as some of the economic impact of food borne diseases.
Mr Lucaz noted that food was an essential element of the trail of both domestic and foreign tourists and that an instance of food poisoning could ground them throughout the period of their visit.
"Should this happen revenue that would have accrued to the tourism sector would be diverted to the health sector in the form of medical bills. The resultant bad reputation of the destination and not the service provider would then translate into huge marketing bills for the tourism sector in developing strategies for service recovery and also for attracting new tourist.