• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Experts urge FG to revamp tourism, hospitality industry

Experts urge FG to revamp tourism, hospitality industry

Stakeholders and business owners in the hospitality industry have urged the Federal Government to foster an enabling environment for businesses in Nigeria’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Speaking at the Lagos Business School’s Hospitality Retail Summit, Bayo Adedeji, Group CEO of Wakanow.com Limited, said that the country’s insufficient capacity to accommodate tourists’ activities hinders travel companies from attracting tourists to Nigeria.

“Imagine bringing 20,000 people inbound when our airports can only manage 3,000 passengers a day, inbound. You cannot transit in Lagos airport because everybody goes through immigration. There aren’t enough hotels and the cost of a visa to come to Nigeria is high,” he said.

He also said that Nigeria’s local tourism development begins with the government creating an enabling environment for business owners to build adequate infrastructure that accommodates international tourists.

“There is work to be done locally to attract inbound tourism and it starts with the government creating enabling policies for business owners to set up more hotels, and tax breaks to incentivise them,” he said.

Stella Fubara, Managing Director, Delyork Development Company, also said that Nigeria could borrow a leaf from UAE’s intentionality in attracting tourists to Dubai.

“The leadership of Dubai was intentional about standardising hospitality, creating the platform for education, and setting the cultural environment that supports hospitality. The guest experience and the customer experience are spot on, and it’s the basic ingredients for success in anything,” she said.

According to Euromonitor International’s Top 100 Destination Cities Index 2023, Dubai ranked as the second destination city for international tourists in 2023. The United Arab Emirates earned $51.9 billion from inbound tourism in 2023, UN data shows.

However, Nigeria earned $700 million from inbound tourist activities in 2023, while the figure stood at $1.1 billion in 2022.

Experts also urged operators in the industry to adopt standard practices and brand consistency to revolutionise the industry.

Chris Ogbechie, Dean of Lagos Business School, said that players in the hospitality industry can attain a competitive advantage through standardisation.

“Standardisation is important in today’s business world. Attaining a competitive advantage is driven by an organisation’s ability to create unique and pleasant customer experiences. And you can scale this by having standards in place,” he said.

Moyo Ogunseide, Executive Director, Radisson Blu said that the hospitality industry must thrive on standards and consistency to drive customer satisfaction and revenue.

“Consistency guarantees the quality and gives you a brand recognition that the customer recognises and keeps them coming back. However, even in forming brand standards, there’s always an element of localisation to the environment,” she said.

Chidinma Ewuzie, Assistant Director, Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), stated that the SON acted as the holder and regulator of the standardisation framework in the industry.

“Existing standards weren’t created by the SON but were prepared by the association of hotels in Nigeria who reached a consensus on the standards for operators in the hospitality industry. Nigeria also subscribes to standards set by the International Standard Organisation (ISO) which includes sustainability standards and requirements,” she said.

However, Fubara said that standards in the hospitality sector will only be effective if operators err.

“Standards are set, but they are measured, inspected, and there’s a penalty. If you go to school and there’s no penalty for getting a D, what’s the point of studying? So, that is the same with standardisation in hospitality,” she said.