Jonel Hospitality Consulting, organizers of the Nigeria Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, NHTIC, has duly positioned itself to continue to be one of Nigeria’s premier advisory and consulting organizations to hotels, tourism and travels investments. With basically a broad spectrum of experience in offering advisory services and giving needed investment lead in Nigeria’s Tourism and hospitality sector, the company looks at the gaps between and offers professional advice to both foreign and local investors on where best to put in money in regards to investments.
According to Mr. Brian Efa, Jonel’s MD/CEO, the organization’s core values enables it to collate extensive information and technical know-how data, and how to raise and apply for funds, how to get the necessary international branding and anything related to tourism investment. The aim of all of this enviable work, Efa says, is to stimulate rapid growth and sustainability for the travel, hospitality and tourism sector.
It is in view of these noble objectives that the organization holds its yearly Nigerian Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference. This year’s edition of the auspicious yearly gathering of experts and stakeholders in the industry, organized to discuss salient issues for the growth of the sector, held under a sublime atmosphere at the Southern Sun Hotel Hotel, Ikoyi- Lagos, on 23RD November 2016.
The theme of the event for this year; Tourism and Hospitality; understanding the Challenges; Taking the Opportunities, encapsulates the whole essence of building a strong and vibrant diversified economy through tourism investments.
Held under a convivial atmosphere, guest speakers at the event, including Mr Anthony Shishler, MD Fahrenheit Hospitality, Mr. Bruce Prins, Operations & Project Manager, and Tana Forsuello, Provost Wavecrest College Of Hospitality, all expounded, exponentially the most profound details needed for bringing about a new and revived Hotel and Tourism sector that will be the pride of investors.
An array of topical issues was discussed by participants, and one of the topics addressed during this year’s event was Nigeria’s fiscal tax regime; with a special focus on taxation for hotels and hospitality business. This segment of discussion anchored by an expert delved on consumption taxation, especially in Lagos and other tax issues like VAT which basically affects the hotel industry. Guests were educated how they should not be victims of tax penalty, how they can comply with tax regulations and how they can well keep their business safe and floating through expert advisory services and consultations regarding taxation.
During his comments, Mr. Anthony Shishler, MD/CEO Fahrenheit stressed the fact that the growth potentials for the local hospitality and tourism industry in Nigeria remain undeniably comforting in the face of economic recession. He said because of its peculiar terrain, hospitality and tourism do not have the right to fall into a recession. Marking the need for proper planning to make appreciable gains, Sishler reiterated that investors can take advantage of the natural friendly disposition of Nigerians towards foreigners and themselves, a key factor for boosting the sector, to make the needed headway for increased return on investments for tourism business owners.
Mr. Frank Oduaran, MD/CEO Tuagran Integral Limited, a company of security experts spoke on security in regards to the attack that happened in recent times in Cote D’Ivoire and Niger and how investors can learn from the attack. Our hotel owners and security personnel can gear up their games in security, the speaker said.
Mr. Yemi Johnson, Digital Marketing Manager, Hotels. Ng spoke extensively on the use of social media techniques to drive sales and marketing for boosting revenue generation. Also, Mr. Bruce Prins of MP Hotels Group delivered a paper on management strategy- maximizing Hotel assets, in which he defined new processes for deciding hotel rates for profitability.
Speaking on what federal government and NTDC is doing to make sure hotels have a unified grading system, Efa said, the federal government has to commission a grading committee to come up with a nationally acceptable grading criterion to regulate and create uniformity. That is how we can have a uniform authentic code. I want it to be 2, 3 or 5star hotel based on their ability and not just the number of the rooms. That is what government needs to do so that a man who stays in International hotel in London comes to Lagos and feels the same service because Intercontinental hotel is a 5star brand and absolutely I have experienced both of them. So with international grading criteria, we will be operating an internationally acceptable grading program in Nigeria, Efa said.
Efa reiterated that Tourism is not just about moving from one place to the other.” What makes it industry is the appreciated territory that makes that journey a memorable one. If I’m going on holiday in another state, I will need an airline, a travel agent, hotel, money, internet and a lot of other things. That is why tourism and related services are No. 6 in terms of exchange of goods and services in the world. So for Nigeria, we should know that our airline industry is dying, if not completely dead. The most international airline has moved from Nigeria to Ghana which is a major contributor to tourism whether land transportation or airline.
Efa identified lack of infrastructure as what is affecting tourism in Nigeria. Also, we have no major airlines, the flights are not there, the roads are bad, which means I must have a properly planned holiday before I can have one. One thing our company tried to do some years back is to launch a campaign that promotes domestic tourism. We don’t have domestic tourism in Nigeria. When we are thinking of a holiday, all we think of is how to travel to the UK, US, Dubai, and other countries, we don’t think of our local tourism site.’’
‘’ The issue we should think of is how we can promote domestic tourism. People are not interested in domestic tourism, the government is also not investing in tourism as they should be. It would have been better if the governor can privatize tourism and set up a committee for tourism by this current government.’’
Making a comparison of the potentials in the industry with other climes, Efa said; the biggest economy in America is California and they don’t live by oil. We should also not forget that last year, one of the major issues that came up during the conference is visa policy. Our visa policy was a big problem; the policy is greatly flawed such that it gives a lot of trouble when you want to come to Nigeria. Tourism cannot work the way we are promoting it. The government should have a good regulation, if the government agency regulates it very well, we can have good tourism. Though we went to the ministry to complain about the visa policy I’m happy because they are doing something about it
He said; let us not start by saying these people are supporting government. Federal and state government should support domestic events; for example, Akwaaba that just ended, they will rather prefer to go abroad and spend Nigeria money than going to other states for holiday. We should start by supporting our own in domestic tourism. If we start by reducing our foreign spending on tourism by 50%, Nigeria tourism will grow. Efa said a communiqué will be released to all relevant organizations and agencies of its resolutions during the conference.