Stakeholders Call For Viable Sector At NHTIC 2015
SPEAKERS and stakeholders that participated at the 2015 edition of the Nigeria Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference have charged both government and private sector on the needs for more concerted efforts at making the tourism and hospitality sector count in the Nigerian economy.
At the conference, which held from November 25-27, at the Intercontinental Hotel Lagos, the speakers and stakeholders argued that it is high time the nation showed more commitment and action at diversifying the Nigerian economy by using tourism as an alternative to oil sector.
The three-day conference went beyond paper presentation to offering veritable platforms for networking, interaction and exchange of ideas among participants who were eager to discover new things to improve their businesses.
Delivering the first paper entitled: ‘Macro-Economic Overview’, Sam Ohuabunwa, founder, SOFEE, explored the country’s economic outlook and gave an insight to would-be investors on how to go about their investments across the country with a view to achieve the expected objectives of the investment.
Comparing the nation with her counterparts in the world, Ohuabunwa noted that despite the challenges of doing business in the country, Nigeria is still an investment haven because of the high return on investment.
However, the picture became clearer when the Managing Director, W Hospitality Group, Trevor Ward, unfolded the growth and investment potential of the Nigerian hotel and tourism market. Ward gave detailed study on the hospitality hot spots, supply gaps and key segments with potential growth, which would-be investors should look out for among others.
Speaking further, Ward’s figure-based presentation was more convincing and enlightening as questions that followed later reflected the gray areas that bother most investors.
The Managing Associate, Sterling Partnership, Laura Alakija, also assured the participants and would-be investors on the safety of the investment with her presentation on the ‘Regulatory Framework in Nigeria: How can this be made easier for investors’.
Speaking from the government perspective, Cross River State Carnival Commission led by Gab Onah, the chairman, unveiled the efforts at making the state the foremost tourism destination in West Africa.
Onah noted that over time, the state has grown its craft, skills and even passion that have sustained the carnival, and other related businesses. Also speaking, Justina Ovat, the principal consultant, Calabar Hospitality House Limited, noted that the increasing traffic to the state, especially during festive season, offers limitless opportunities for more investments in hotels, resorts, tours and related businesses.
There were other sessions featuring paper presentations on topical issues affecting the industry. The likes of Andrew McLachlan, Vice president, Carlson Rezidor, Mark Martinovic, CEO, Hotel Partners Africa, Samuel Alabi, Legal adviser, Eko Hotel and Suites, Rosana Forsuelo, provost, Wavecrest College of Hospitality among others enlightened the audience with their various paper presentations that truly made the conference worthwhile.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Brian Efa, Managing Partner, Jonel Hospitality Consulting, organizers’ of the conference, noted that the theme this year; ‘Nigeria’s Tourism Industry-Catalyst for Economy Diversification’, was purposely meant to highlight the challenges of operating business in Nigeria, opportunities and plans in place to secure increased investment in the sector the three-five years.