EARLIER this week at Mayroses Hotel, Amawbia, Awka South LGA, Anambra State Government, in conjunction with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigeneous Artworks, Culture And Tourism, hosted a one day seminar with Anambra State Association of Hotel Owners, in a bid to revive tourism in the state and also promote several hotel businesses that are facing different challenges met with major stakeholders in the business.
The event, which attracted hotel owners and managers, was targeted at educating them on how best to improve in hotel services to increase their incomes and contribute towards boosting the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano restated the resolve of his administration towards sustaining enabling environment for investors in the state.
Governor Obiano, represented by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, said that his government would keep working hard to make the state more investment friendly and called on Ndi Anambra, especially those in the Diaspora to invest more in the state so as to create more employment opportunities for Anambra youths and help the government generate fund for the development of the state.
He also affirmed that the state is willing to come up with seminars/empowerment for the people of the state and advised hotels to register with the government in other to enjoy such benefits.
According to the Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, Dr Sally Mbanefo, the event was held in response with the meeting her ministry had with different registered hotels in the state six months ago in order to tackle financial issues the hotels may be facing.
She also gave a presentation revealing the plans of the government on their very next step to promote tourism, saying that “globally, tourism is adding internal generated revenue to countries like India, China, Mexico. In 2015, according to IMF, tourism contributed not less than five per cent to Nigeria’s GDP”.
She also made it clear that she wants tourism to be the black oil in which Anambra can bank on, noting that Anambra state has a lot of tourist’s attractions, including the Ogbunike Cave, Owlle- Ezukeala Cave and Waterfalls, among others, which when developed, will attract foreigners into the state thereby increasing the state IGR.
She also stated that when tourism is appreciated, hotels have a lot to gain as people who visit tourist centers will also look for hotels to stay in.
“Tourism and hospitality is the industry that has the highest employment of labour as it is contributing to 9-10 percent of GDP in most countries. Hospitality cannot be replaced by machines. People need to see warmth, smile and feel welcomed,” she said.
In a presentation on how to improve on hotel services, the Chairman, Viko Nigerian limited, Mr. Chidi Kanu encouraged and enlightened the participants on how to render online services to their customers especially those outside the state and overseas.
In a remark, the President, Anambra State Association of Hotel Owners, Mr. Godwin Okonkwo, described the idea as a welcome development and a new dawn for hoteliers in the state, assuring partnership with the state government on the scheme.
Others who graced the occasion are, Secretary to Anambra State Government, Head of Service Anambra State, Harry Uduh, Commissioner for Youths Empowerment and Creative Forum, Afam Mbanefo.