Gov. Alex Otti of Abia has expressed readiness to reshape the hospitality industry and tourism sector through creative strategies to boost the state’s economy.
Otti said this on Thursday during a meeting with members of Nigeria Hotel Association and Hotel Proprietors Association in Umuahia.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Caleb Ajagba, said that he was desirous to develop and strengthen the hospitality industry as well as tourism sector to meet global standards.
He said that the rebuilding agenda of the government was focused on achievement of even distribution of socioeconomic development and added that the hotel owners had a vital role to play in this regard.
“We are here to kick start what would be an enduring legacy in terms of reshaping the perception of stakeholders in the hospitality industry.
“Also looking at creative ways to move the hospitality industry, and one of the takeaways we are looking at, is building partnership with stakeholders.
“Government cannot do everything, however, government will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, but it is the responsibility of entrepreneurs to drive the process to boost wealth creation,” he said.
Otti said that the government would create channels that would enhance the visibility of Abia’s hospitality industry on the digital space, and further drive the hospitality businesses to deliver world class services
The Commissioner for Digital Economy, Dr Matthew Ekwuruibe, urged stakeholders in the hospitality industry to align with government’s rebuilding agenda.
Ekwuruibe said that plans were underway to build a website for hotels listing and booking , as well as connecting the hotels to Google Map, and added that the website would contain information about tourism centres in Abia.
He said that the use of digital technology to reinvent the hospitality industry had a lot of benefits such as increased visibility, enhanced ease of doing business, among others.
Also, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr Okey Kanu, said that the hospitality industry played a central role in improving the economy of any state.
Kanu said that “the hospitality industry is central to any government that is interested in growing its economy.
“The relationship between government and the hotel owners is a relationship that needs to grow into a partnership to transform the hospitality industry,”
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Kazie Uko, described the meeting as a deliberate effort by the government to transform the hospitality industry in the state.
Uko said that the engagement between the government and stakeholders had created a viable opportunity to address the issues inhibiting the growth of the industry in the state.
Furthermore, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism and Entertainment, Mr Martins Justice, described the hospitality industry as the bedrock of the tourism sector.
Justice said that the government was working to build a hospitality industry that would meet the demands of the 21st Century as well as develop the tourism sector.
Earlier, the National Treasurer of Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr Charles Ezeala, called on the state government to create an enabling environment for hotel businesses to thrive.
Ezeala said that the government had a great role to play in assisting hotel businesses to thrive, for the hospitality industry to be transformed.
Also, Mr Nnanna Ngwakwe, a member of Hotel Proprietors Association, Aba branch, said that insecurity, poor power supply and bad roads were the bane of hotel businesses in Abia and added that this was affecting the growth of the hospitality industry in the state.
Ngwakwe called for the urgent intervention of the state government in addressing the challenges threatening the advancement of the industry in Abia.