Tourism can sustain Nigeria’s economy, Akpabio
For Nigeria to survive the negative effects of the current fall in oil prices at the international market and even come out of it as a stronger economy, adequate investment in the hospitality and tourism sector is urgently required, said the Group Managing Director of Nanet Group of Hotels and Deputy President of the Federation of Hospitality Management Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ini Akpabio. Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Akpabio said only a focus on the potentials of the country’s tourism sector can bring Nigeria out of economic doldrums and open a new frontier of development.
Akpabio said tourism sector is challenged because the entire economy is challenged as a result of poor supply of power and potable water, lack of good transport system, communication, road and other basic infrastructures. He added that the decay in education is another challenge affecting the sector.
“Due to all these you see people in this sector who do not have any basic training in this profession but end up managing hospitality and tourism establishment and they make a total mess of this sector since they do not have any training in the profession.
In other clime you are allowed to do a course in hospitality within the confinement of established hotels while you are receiving your training and working on the field within established hotels.” The second factor according to the tourism expert is lack of managerial skills by hotel owners.
He said many of them do not understand that running a successful hotel is a team business therefore; they introduce practices that are better in trading than in provision of service especially in the hospitality field.
“When you work as a team then there is the need to train people and an understanding that you cannot do all the jobs and a lot of these things are not brought to play by owners of hotels in most cases across the nation.”
He however submitted that with good infrastructure in place, tourism sector will be a money spinner with better prospects than oil, noting that the current oil price drop is good for Nigeria as it is a wake-up call for the country.
“It is a reminder that we should not take for granted an asset that is a wasting asset like oil but we should try to have a more sustainable alternatives such as our hospitality and tourism sector that is begging for attention.
I make bold to say there is neither state nor local government in Nigeria that does not have one or more unique tourism potential that could turn to a mega source of revenue generation and attract people from all parts of the world to this country.”