Hospitality business across Cross River State may not have yielded fruitful results for many of the operators across the state in 2017, however, that was not enough to deter the Hoteliers Associations of Cross River (HACR), umbrella body for the hoteliers, from ending the year on a high and celebratory note as it rolled out the drums to fete its members and the general public to Calabar Hospitality Fiesta (CALHOSFI 2017.
The hospitality fiesta, which first started in 2015 has since become a yearly affair in the annals of HACR, which is led by Charles Ogar, who is also the managing director of Pyramid Hotel and Conference Centre, one of the foremost and leading hospitality outfits in Calabar, as it has been celebrated with colours and excitement without fail in the last three years.
Last year’s event was also an enthralling one with all the trappings that were associated with it and for the hoteliers, it was a befitting way to end the year with a number of them braving all odds to join in the celebration, which witnessed a number of events.
The objectives of CALHOSFI as stated by the chairman of HACR, Ogar,are among others to serve as ‘‘an initiative that seeks to accomplish the following: Provide networking opportunity for hospitality business practitioners; provide access to high value customers; provide sales and marketing platform; reviewing the state of the industry through interactions; and showcasing company products and services in the industry.’’
Furthermore, he disclosed that ‘‘it would witness the showcasing of the beauty and talents of young Cross Riverians; showcasing the comparative advantage of our God’s given diverse cuisines and culinary delicacies while the intent is for it to be the largest and most comprehensive business and leisure event for the hospitality industry in Cross River State,” said Ogar.
These objectives appear not to have been quickly forgotten by the hoteliers, as they have yearly improved on the content and delivery of the fiesta with that of last year a notch higher even though it was meant to be celebrated on low key, a reflection of the unfavourable business environment, which as stated by the chairman, saw the closure of a number of hotels, downsizing and losses by the members. In his message to his members during the fiesta, Oga underlined some of the debilitating factors that affected the hospitality business in the state: ‘‘2017 has been an eventful year especially with dwindling occupancy, increased electricity tariff by Power Holding Development (PHED) and multiplicity of taxes by most agents of government in all tiers.
‘‘A good number of hotels have closed shop while others are just managing to stay afloat. Hoteliers Association Cross River (HACR) has kept a friendly relationship with all the security agents as the security of the environment improves.’’
Last year, he concluded was a most challenging year for hospitality business, however, Ogar said they remain grateful to God for the journey. ‘‘In summary, 2017 has been quite challenging to all of us but we thank God for keeping our doors open.’ He also spoke on the strength of HACR and the impact that it has made over the years, adding that it ability to stage the yearly fiesta shows how strong a brand HACR has become: ‘‘Calabar Hospitality Fiesta (CALHOSFI) 2017 is an eloquent testimony of HACR’s strong brand.
It remains a very colourful event in the face of extreme challenges.’’ The managing director of Pyramid Hotel expressed confidence in an improved business environment in 2018, with the hope that the federal and state governments would invest in more infrastructure and create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
‘‘The Federal Government is expected to spend more on infrastructural development, which should improve cash flow in the system and enhancing mobility for tourism purposes in 2018.’’ In the new year, he said that: ‘‘HACR will reposition itself for better performance, focusing on business protection, market synergy, staff training and improved heads-on-beds,’’ even as he expressed appreciation to the council of HACR and its members for their faith in keeping the association going. ‘‘I thank the EXCO and all members of HACR for keeping faith with the association we can only get stronger and united in 2018. ‘‘The battle to harmonize taxes for better business planning is still on while we hope for a better 2018. We look forward to a vibrant 2018 by the special grace of our Almighty God.’’
Highlights of CALHOSFI 2017, which was held in collaboration with Celebrity Planet 9ja, include: Photoshot for contestants of the beauty pageant, city tour, city walk/concert, pageantry night/coronation and dinner night. The grand finale of the beauty pageant, which is now in fifth year was one of the most colourful and celebrated events, with Miss Okeke Emerald, who represented Green Valley Hotel, emerging tops as Miss Hospitality Ambassador Nigeria 2017/2018. Other winners of the night were: Miss Ojuwe Agnes, who represented Hotel 45 as Miss Hospitality Ambassador Africa 2017/2018, Miss Eyare,Emmanuela, who represented Nesville Suites as Miss Hospitality and Tourism Ambassador Nigeria 2017/2018, Okore,Emerald, who represented Legacy Hotel as Miss Hospitality Ambassador Niger/Delta Nigeria 2017/2018, Miss Igrami Immaculate, who represented Axari Hotel asMiss Hospitality Ambassador South- South Nigeria 2017/2018. Also on the honour list are: Miss Ndoma Daniella, representative of Naks Hotel as Miss Hospitality Ambassador South-East Nigeria 2017/2018, and Miss Eyam Princess, who represented Satelite Town Hotel as Miss Hospitality Ambassador South-West Nigeria 2017/2018 while Queen Ogar Praise was awarded MHAN Best Model of the year 2017/2018), Queen Umoren Kelony as Miss Freemans Hotel and Queen Onyeabor Gloria as Miss Calabar Hospitality House Limited.
The dinner night, which was the last of the activities held on December 30, at Green Valley Hotel, Calabar and witnessed among others a reception session for the winner of Miss Hospitality Ambassador Nigeria 2017/2018 hosted by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Green Valley Hotel, Eyo Ita and his wife.
Franjane Royal Suites opens for business today
Lagos State hospitality sector would have its ranks swelled with the formal opening today of Franjane Royal Suites. The 40 rooms – based hotel, with apportioned modern and sophisticated facilities, boasting excellent and professional service delivery culture, is located on Okota, Isolo axis of the state.
Patrons and guests consisting business moguls and others, including the local community, are expected to attend the ceremony, which is billed to begin at 11am within the expansive premises of the elegant and architecturally pleasing hotel. The opening ceremony would be performed by Lord Bishop Rt. Revd. Dr. and Mrs. James O. Odedeji, of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos West.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the hotel, Sir Francis Okeke, who is very pleased at his accomplishment, the ceremony promises to be an eventful and colourful one as preparations are in top gear to showcase the hotel to the world. He disclosed that the hotel is quite unique and would be a first choice for patrons because of its posh and opulence nature as well as the exquisite facilities and services on offer.
OLUGBENGA OMOTAYO SUNDAY: Thriving hospitality business vital to tourism growth
Olugbenga Omotayo Sunday is a trained accountant, mediator and banker turned hospitality expert. He is from Idere, Ibarapa Central Local Government of Oyo State. With over 10 years working experience in senior strategy and operational positions at various hotels in Nigeria, he is now the general manager of Grand Capital Hotel, Akure. He speaks on the importance of a thriving hospitality sector to the development of tourism
How were you able to manage the switch from the banking industry to hospitality?
After my exit from the banking industry, I discovered that both industries have common relationships in that banking is service oriented industry and that is quite applicable to the hospitality sector. That made it easy for me to cope in the hospitality industry easily.
What are the prospects for the younger generation in tourism industry?
The tourism industry is very huge. It has a lot of sectors based on the fact that people move from one place to another and that will continue to be and that will always prompt the need for hospitality services with hospitality as the key player. Each hotel has at least 10 departments, like housekeeping, administration, accounts, security, front desk, and maintenance. All these require qualified personnel to manage. From available statistics on hotel management, it was discovered that hotels contributed 60% which is like 1.7billion in Nigeria today
Highlight the significance of hospitality sector to tourism industry in Nigeria
Tourism and hospitality are inseparable. Tourism cannot thrive where there are no appreciable hospitality services provided mostly by hotels. Hospitality is a sector that takes care of the need of tourists. It is vital to state that every tourists need accommodation, food and drink, which are provided by the hospitality sector because they are strangers wherever they find themselves. So for a tourist to rate a destination with good grade and thought of returning again, the hotels must have provid-ed friendly and satisfying services.
What are some of the challenges facing hotel business in Nigeria?
The number one challenge is the erratic power supply. It is a major problem because good percentage of profit that would have been injected to sustain the business goes to providing electricity through fuelling and maintenance of generators. From experience, hospitality sector lacks manpower as many of the employees are not patience enough to grow in the industry and multiple taxations is another problem. It is important to state that most of the hotels found it very difficult to have access to loans from the banks for expansion.
What are the keys to success in hotel business?
For any hotel to succeed, attention must be paid to every little thing. Starting from the hotel’s entrance, as the first point of call, to the front office. The staff must be friendly and courteous in welcoming the guests. It goes a long way in building a lasting impression and relationship. Also, the preventive maintenance culture must be cultivated. Security of guests must not be underrated and provision of good culinary services.
Tinapa Lakeside Hotel boost for Niger Delta Tourism Expo
As preparations for Niger Delta Tourism Expo, which is scheduled to hold for the first time in Calabar, Cross River State, gather momentum, Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, the choice venue for the maiden event, has offered to partner with the organisers of the event.
This is coming on the heels of recent support for the tourism event, which would see the nine states in the South – South region gather to promote and market the tourism business of the region, by the Cross State government, through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which pledged full endorsement for the travel and tourism trade expo.
At a meeting with the local organising committee of the event, the General Manager of Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, Mrs. Justina Ovat, declared that as a measure of its support, the management of the hotel is offering 50% discount on its facilities, including rooms to participants and exhibitors.
She conducted the team on a tour of the facilities, which included the proposed venue, exhibition spaces, halls and board rooms for breakout sessions. State tourism boards, agencies, different stakeholders and experts, tourism operations, designated speakers and panelists as well as the media and the public from across the states of the South – South region of the country, are expected to converge on Tinapa, Calabar to chart a new course for the improvement of the economy of Niger Delta states beyond the oil and gas.
Billed to hold between 11 and 13 July, the theme is: ‘Niger – Delta Beyond Oil: Tourism, A Tool for Sustainable Development.’ Different sub topics on issues ranging from hospitality, the role of the media, the government, security agencies, and financial and traditional institutions among others would occupy the seminar sections of the event.
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