The Anambra State government through the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism on Wednesday, hosted a stakeholder meeting with Anambra State Association of Hotel Owners in a bid to revive tourism and hospitality services in the state and beyond.
The State Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Dr Sally Mbanefo, who addressed journalists shortly after the partnership parley with the hoteliers, said the administration of Governor Willie Obiano is always committed to sustaining enabling environment for investors to drive.
According to her, the event was held in response with the meeting her ministry had with five hundred (500) registered hotels in the state a few months ago in order to tackle financial issues the hotels may be facing and to help boost tourism and hospitality services in the state.
She said the Tourism Ministry under her watch, would keep working hard to make the state more investment-friendly and called on indigenous entrepreneurs especially those in the Diaspora to invest more in the state so as to create more employment opportunities for Anambra youths and to help the government generate fund for the development of the state.
She advised other relaxation centres in the state to register with the government in other to enjoy the partnership benefits.
While unveiling vehicles supply by Innoson Motors for the reservation services, the former Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), noted that “globally, tourism is adding internally generated revenue to countries like India, China, Mexico, according to IMF, tourism contributed not less than ten 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 has been attracting foreigners into the state.
She also stated that when tourism is appreciated, hotels have a lot to gain as people who visit tourist centres 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 per cent of GDP in most countries. Hospitality cannot be replaced by machines. People need to see warmth, smile and feel welcomed,” she said.
On the way forward to improve on hotel services, the Managing Director, Don Hills Hotel Limited Onitsha, Chief Victor Okey, encouraged others to key into online services of registering their customers especially those outside the state and overseas for security reasons.
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.
Tribune Online gathered that the event, which attracted hotel owners and managers, was also targeted at educating them on how best to improve in hotel services to increase their incomes.