Provide concessionary loans for tourism practitioners – Expert

The Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality, Ghana International branch, Mrs Bella Ahu, has advocated the provision of concessionary loans for tourism practitioners for the renovation, refurbishment and expansion of their facilities.

She said, “Lack of training facilities especially continuing professional development programmes to facilitate capacity building in this fast-growing industry, inadequate equipment and lack of  state-of-the-art equipment in our tertiary institutions offering courses and lack of uniformed mandate to control and manage the scheme of involving employment, salaries and wages, motivation and recognition of hospitality personnel are some of the observations, concerns and challenges that militate against the efforts and strides that promote excellence in the hospitality and tourism industry.”

She was speaking at the 2nd National Delegates Conference organised by the Institute of Hospitality Ghana at the National Theatre on Wednesday.

She further added that lack of professionals to execute programmes of the government and the private sector as a whole and the large number of untrained and unskilled personnel working in the hospitality establishment also contributed to the challenges of the industry.

Mrs Ahu revealed that the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) established to develop and maintain uniformed standards and certification of hospitality personnel at the foundation, basic, intermediary and supervisory levels,  at the moment had no industry standards leaving the future of HOTCATT unknown whereas the building to house guests and demonstration rooms for practical work had also come to a standstill.

She, therefore, pleaded with the Minister of Tourism, Ms Akua Sena Dansua, to kindly take a critical look at the HOTCATT issue, since it was the only quality workforce that can deliver quality service.

The Minister of Tourism, Ms Akua Sena Dansua, acknowledged the immense contribution of sustainable tourism to the country, saying the institute had organised a number of programmes, including conferences, to showcase Ghana’s hospitality, leisure and tourism potential and also created awareness about the role of the hospitality industry in the economic development of Ghana as the conference had brought together development institutions, investors, academics, as well as public and private sector institutions involved in tourism, to discuss best practices in the hospitality sector.

She lauded the institute for its achievements over the years and also emphasised that Ghana was yet to achieve the desired levels of efficiency required in the industry, since the tourism industry was still plagued with challenges such as inadequate training and poor quality service delivery, unprofessional conducts by the industry players, difficulty in the implementation of policies and inadequate and sometimes obsolete equipment.

According to Ms Dansua, the recently promulgated Tourism Law, Act 817 of 2011, among others, is aimed at transforming the Ghana Tourist Board into the Ghana Tourism Authority and also establish a tourism development fund that will make funds available to identify new tourist attractions, develop existing ones and also enable the country to build the capacity of operators in the industry.

Source: Daily Graphic

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