2019 was challenging for tourism sector, future looks bright — Adeyemo
Individuals and organisations have described the outgone year, 2019, differently. For those in the tourism sector, it was a challenging moment occasioned by the spate of insecurity across the country.
The Public Relations Manager, Transcorp Hilton Hotels, Abuja, Mr. Shola Adeyemo, admitted that sector suffered serious setback as people, including domestic tourists were skeptical about travelling to and within the country.
According to him, tour operators were the worst hit by the security situation.
His words: “The year 2019 was a challenging year for the tourism sector just like every other sector of the economy. If you ask any tour operator, he or she will tell you that it was challenging because nobody wants to travel for tourism when there is a state of insecurity.“If the security situation improves, the state of the road improves and the airlines are on schedule, the future looks very bright. So you can imagine what happens if the economy improves in 2020, which we hope, it does. Indeed, the future looks very bright.”
The hotel’s imagemaker also spoke on how a national carrier will influence tourism growth. Citing instances with some nations of the world that have direct flight operations, Adeyemo stated that the moment Nigeria is able to solve the problem, there would be significant growth in the tourism sector.
“All you talk about Dubai today is largely because of Emirate Airline and when you talk about Ethiopia, it is because of Ethiopian Airline. So, the moment Nigeria solves the problem of national carrier, it will see significant growth in the tourism sector,” he said.He, however, applauded the government on the return of budget cycle of January to December, stressing that it will impact positively on hotel business.
According to him, late passage of budget had negatively affected corporate customers in the past but with the early passage of the bill, industry operators are not likely to experience down turn in the first quarter of the year as it used to be.
“It is a good tiding because budgeting and hotel business are related. For most of our corporate clients, activities in the first quarter are low because everybody is expecting the budget to be signed but this new development is something very good for us.”
Speaking specifically about the Yuletide experience at the Hilton, Abuja, Adeyemo said it was a beehive of activities with influx of both local and international tourists.He was elated that in spite of the harsh economic reality, the hotel witnessed a great turn out of leisure seekers during the holidays. He however linked it to innovations and efficient service delivery.
“We concentrate on creating the right products, the right services and also, the right value for customers.“If we look at the Christmas and New Year festive period, we were not looking at the price; we were looking at the value we create for the customers. There were lots of activities for the children, which they did not pay for. Entertainment was world class.”
Adding: “There was no dull moment in the hotel. So it is a period when we create value for the customers. It is all about the value the guests get when they come here and that is the reason the hotel has become more attractive during the festive seasons and during normal periods.”
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