Hospitality industry tasks government on infrastructure and security

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Stakeholders in the hospitality industry have urged the Nigerian Government to improve security and infrastructure in the country to boost economic growth.

The stakeholders made the call during the Hospitality Industry Conference on Saturday in Lagos.

Mr Emmanuel Ele, Managing Director, Six Regions Hotels Ltd., said the country’s environment must be safe and secured with quality infrastructure to boost the growth of hospitality business.

“In a year, we all know what tourism can add to the economy in terms of GDP, but tourism cannot go without its sister – hospitality.

“We need the government to support us so that the hospitality business can expand more.

“Make the country safer so that visitors coming into the country and the locals can move around the country without fear of attack or kidnap,” he said.

He urged the government to improve infrastructure, especially energy and the road network.

He said the inadequacy of electricity and bad roads in some parts of the country had crippled the operations of some hotels.

“The amount spent on energy will amaze you. I am not talking about multinational hotels but local hotels.

“In a 50-bedroom hotel, we run 50-litres of diesel overnight and 50-litres during the day, if there is no electricity.

“If you add the cost of diesel to other costs, that is a lot, and it is affecting our profit and the sustainability of the industry,” he said.

He also urged the government to address issues of illiquidity in the economy, which he said had affected consumer spending and patronage of the hospitality business.

Director, Marketing, Marriot International Hotels, Mrs Moyo Okusanya said an enabling environment would make it easier for operators to market the potentials of the country.

Similarly, Executive Manager, 2wenty2 Hospitality and Allied Services Ltd., Mrs Yvonne Mordi, said the industry required more of government participation to grow.

“We know that the government is trying to bring the travelling and tourism sector into shape, and we believe they can do more for the hospitality sector too.

“The hospitality sector is very wide, we have more than 13 sub-sectors in the industry, including hotels, restaurants, food and beverages, airlines, bars, resort centres and others.

“We know that government’s participation will strengthen the activities of the industry to do more,” she said.

Mordi, who is the convener of the conference, said the programme was intended to provide a rich platform for growth, development, network and the need to perfect the right skills among hospitality operators.

“The hospitality industry has not been above board, especially in the last decade, as it has suffered in the hands of unskilled operators who lack the requisite skills to deliver excellent services,” she said.

She said through the conference, partnerships and mentoring opportunities would enhance the growth of the industry and economy.

 

NAN/Lateefah Ibrahim