Ghana Tourism Authority sensitises informal Food and Beverage operators

Accra- The Ghana Tourism Authority has held the maiden edition of a nationwide training and sensitisation programme for the informal food and beverage operators to improve upon the quality of service delivery within the informal catering sector.

The programme also aimed at enhancing the skills of the informal food and beverage enterprise operators to be able to provide quality service to visitors from the Diaspora as they come home for the ‘Year of Return’.

The GTA under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture held the training in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Federation.

The Training covered areas such as; Food safety and hygiene, Food and beverage services, LI 2238 and LI 2185 and Finance and accounting basics, specifically book keeping.

Mr Ekow Sampson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, said the informal Food and Beverage sector (IFBS) constituted about 80 per cent to the Tourism Industry, adding that reports on the number of food poisoning cases kept increasing, thus, the need for the training.

He said, research showed that 59.8 per cent of food borne diseases like cholera were caused by lack of proper safety and hygienic conditions by the vendors and bar operators, hence, the need for them to be trained on the essence of quality service delivery.

He, however, said most of the Vendors and operators in the IFBS needed to be aware of the Tourism Levy and Development Fund since they constituted majority of the industry to enable them contribute their quota for development.

The training would be an opportunity to mobilise most of the food and Beverage businesses in the informal sector that were yet to be registered to pay the levy, he said.

Mr Sampson said most of the vendors and bar operators in the IFBS did not earn much and the Tourism Authority would improvise means by which everyone would be able to pay the levy.

Dr Patricia Owusu Darko, Dean of Graduate school, Kumasi Technical University and a Food Scientist, who presented on Food Safety and Hygiene, said the programme was vital for the trainees as they were first point of contacts for tourists who wanted to eat indigenous Ghanaian cuisines.

She added that, when they are educated on hygiene, safety and proper service delivery, it would bring more tourists to the country as they would have a holistic experience of the tourist sites and the food as well.

Dr Owusu Darko said there should be linear work-flow, easily cleanable equipment, easily cleanable surfaces, adequate ventilation and adequate lighting at eateries.

She advised the food vendors, bar operators to have safety management systems to enable them identify hazards, and control contamination of food.

She said they would be educated on the laws governing food management and the standards to be met thus when flouted, adequate measures would be taken.

Madam Evelyn Sosoo Tay, President of Ghana Association of Traditional Caterers, commended the Tourism Authority for the exercise and assured the compliance of members to rules and regulations governing their operations.

Mr Solomon Aryitey, Vice Chairman of Ghana Bar Operators Association, pleaded with the authorities to reduce the GH50.00 and GH70.00 levy and to allow payments in instalments.

Source: Ghana News Agency