By Laja Thomas
HOSPITALITY business is assuming a very important dimension in the Nigerian economy with new entrant springing up by the day. One of theÂ hotels isÂ Equity resort Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. Formerly known as Gateway Hotel owned by the Ogun State government was concessioned to the Equity Group of Companies, owners of Equity Assurance Plc.
Its General Manager, Mrs BisolaÂ Osuntokun_ Lewis, a journalist who worked with the Vanguard andÂ Nigerian Tribune newspapers is saddled with the responsibility of making sure that the establishment have a place in the history of hospitalityÂ industry in Nigeria. She spoke to Vanguardâ€™s Travel and Tourism on what the hotel stands to offer Nigerians in the hospitality industry and the assessment of the industry among several other issues. Excerpt.
On factors that affects the Hospitality Industry in Nigeria?
PartÂ of the problem that affects the industry can be attributed to the epileptic power supply that has renderedÂ both the industry and the manufacturing sector in the country useless to the extent that most entrepreneurs have settledÂ down with their business in the neigbouring countries like GhanaÂ just because of that constant power supply available there.
Imagine someone living his environment to another just to experience new thing but unfortunately, epileptic power supply disturb the whole of its arrangement and to run on diesel, standard hotel needs to be up and doing just to remain relevant as customersâ€™ favourite.
There is no way hospitality industry in Nigeria can thrive as much as it should, unless the Federal Government drives tourism by promoting its own so that foreign investors and tourists will be able to show interest in the country
Not necessary meaning huge money of such but a lot of advancement such as the South Africa government is presently doing to its country on CNN and cables network which has automatically help the country to drive her tourism and at the same time boost it hospitality industry.
At a certain level, the Federal Government needs to play its role in promoting our industry thereby attracting foreign investors and tourists to Nigeria and if they see Nigeria as a tourist destination for holidays, and they are sure of their security, I think they will come.
What did you think that government should do to boost Tourism .
I think the first step is to drive tourism, there are hotels in Nigeria that can match with the international hotels like in the United States of Ameican, the United Kingdom and in Europe based on their activities and the structured patterned for now I donâ€™t think the issue is of standard but may be if more tourists comes in the hotels can move up to that standard.
Let the appropriate agency in charge of campaign on the media, events and exhibition about our culture, sights in Nigeriaâ€™s like Arugungu festival, Osun_Osogbo begin to sensitized the people and when that is done tourists will come as a result of these campaigns..
What has Equity Resort Hotel got to offer Nigerians?
Equity Resort Hotel is central to different historical, heritage and cultural tourism sites in Ogun State. Equity Resort Hotel, which took over the management of the former Gateway Hotel, Ijebu_Ode, has practically been redefined and restructure with its services to meet up customersâ€™ needs and satisfaction.
Located at the serene and natural ambience of Eruwon town, Chris Ogunbanjo Way, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Equity Resort Hotel display 104 tastefully furnished double bedded rooms and suites equipped with the state of the art facilities to give its numerous customers one of the best services in the South West., Nigeria.
Making a unique hospitality statement through prompt service, was one of the selected hotel which hosted some of the participants and teams at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Its StrengthÂ in the hospitality Industry?
Equity Resort Hotels savours the culinary and relaxation delight of the people of Ijebu-Ode and beyond. Making it a one stop shop for anyone visiting Ijebu-Ode for business and leisure. It operates a restaurant that serves the best in local and international dishes.
The hotel is carving a niche for itself in the area of conferencing as it displays three different halls with capacity to seat 80 to 200 guests depending on the arrangement of the event, while the cinema hall has a capacity to accommodate 500 people at a go.
For maximum relaxation for customers, Equity Resort has different sports and witness facilities to relax the nerve (a sizeable football field, lawn tennis court, open bar swimming, basket pitch, gymnasium, depending on the choice and medical prescription of individuals.
Seating on 14,.161 hectares of land the hotel is located in a quite, serene and picturesque atmosphere deep within the tranquil ambience of Ijebu-Ode of South West Nigeria -the rallying point for these highly resourceful, culturally vibrant and socially colourful people who are equally warm, friendly and very accommodating to visitors,well connected by a networks of accessibleÂ roads of whichÂ Abeokuta the state capital is only 45 minites drive away, about the same time it takes you to get to Ibadan the largest city in west Africa.
While Benin City is 2 hours drive away, connecting your flight from Muritala Mohammed International Airport is a pleasurable one hour drive on the Benin-Shagamu-Lagos (dual carriage way) express road. This affords the opportunity of a first_hand encounter with an admixture of urban/rural Nigeria, its people, terrain and culture. people, terrain and culture.
It has often said that the Ogun State government still control the establishment, how true is this ?
Thatâ€™s notÂ right, what has the Ogun State government got to do with Equity Assurance Plc, which is the parent company of the hotel and to say it, the transition was so clear.
I mean the bidding was transparent though I wasnâ€™t part of the bidding but transparent enough.There were 3 organisations that were involved in the concession and eventually Equity Assurance Plc for the deal.
For me, I donâ€™t think is an issue of name but issue of facility because when we took over the former Gateway Hotel, it was completely in dilapidated form, virtually nothing was working but now we have turned everything around by making available all that will be needed to make it an international hotel with enviable standard.
â€œWe have air conditional system working in all the rooms, we have remove something and put wall paper in all the wall, as well as flat screen television, we did extensive work.â€