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04.04.2006 Travel & Tourism

Government outdoors new tourism law

By GNA

Accra April 4, GNA - A new Legislative Instrument 1817(LI} on Act 478 that would provide incentive packages to promote investment in the tourism sector was launched on Tuesday.

The incentive packages aimed at rewarding quality in the sector include tax holidays ranging from five to three years depending on the particular tourism activity.

Mrs Rose Nyakotey, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), briefing tour operators on the highlights of the "Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (Promotion of Tourism)Law said it would enable Ghana to attract major strategic investments in the sector.

The basis would be on the level of investment in the economy, the level of employment regeneration and generation of further investment through linkages with other economic sectors.

Mrs Nyakotey said in the cases of major strategic investments, the type of benefits and incentives to be granted and the terms and conditions for the enjoyment would be negotiated between the investor and the Centre with the approval of the President.

There would be tariff exemptions including VAT on custom import duties on capital equipment, machinery, furniture and fittings to be used in establishing new projects or expanding an existing one. Items like refrigerators, TV sets, audiovisuals and video equipment, computer and accessories, fitness and healthcare equipments and vehicles where appropriate, would also be given tax exemptions. Mrs Nyakotey noted that the incentives would enable enterprises in the tourism sector to raise the level and quality of their services. "The service sector holds great potential for growth and job creation in the private sector. It is a foreign exchange earner and as such it is categorized as "exporting enterprise".

"Tourism is a major key by which we can open doors into some rural and economically depressed areas. .it is the key to the gateway since most investors star t as visitors to the investment destination," the GIPC Head said.

She appealed to individuals and communities to rise up to the occasion and release lands for tourism projects since the new Law had broadened the scope of investment opportunities.

Mrs Nyakotey called on tour operators to support the Government through the adoption of appropriate programmes.

Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism, urged Ghanaian investors to take advantage of the Law and develop tourism products.

He urged Ghanaians to take note that tourism was a lucrative business that could change the destiny of the country for the better. Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of GIPC Board of Directors, said GIPC aimed at attracting investment into deprived areas and the three Northern Regions.

He said; "the Law has not come to solve all problems; it is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end...the real gratitude is the multiplicity of tourism industries in the country". Mr Obeng said GIPC would collaborate with all stakeholders to prevent abuses.

Mr Foster Joe Nyarko, President of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), expressed concern about Ghana being branded as a high cost destination country.

He suggested a different colour licence plate be used for tourism vehicles.

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