By Gabriel Olawale
THE Country Director of Elmeyor Premier Hotel group, Mr. Kenneth Otagba, has called on the government at different levels to remove the several bottlenecks confronting the hospitality sub sector of the tourism industry if they are sincere about diversification of the country’s economy.
Speaking at the ground opening ceremony of Leawood Hotel in Lagos, weekend, Otagba said that epileptic power supply, lack of infrastructure and ambiguous tax have not really made it possible for hospitality industry to enjoy the desired enabling environment to grow.
He explained that out of the total operating cost of some of the hotels in the country, power generation alone consumed 50 per cent without factoring in series of taxes by various government agencies.
“Hospitality in itself is key to tourism and for tourism to thrive we need an enabling environment, a few key issue that affect tourism in the country which invariable affect hotel industry is security, most people find it difficult to trust the security level of this country.”
“Another thing is infrastructures such as electricity, road network among others. Power is one of the reasons why some hotel rooms are very expensive and in many hotels 50 percent of operational cost goes into purchasing of diesel and at the end of the month you will still pay for the electricity that you didn’t consume.
“As a country we are gifted with water ways, vegetation and land mass but these are not put to use to better serve the country in term of tourism.”
He, however, urged the government to put in place tax policy that will encourage newly set up hospitality services in the country, “Hospitality pays series of tax, if government can subsidize the tax for newly set up hotels it will really help.”
Otagba pointed out that Leawood hotel which is situated along Lekki-Epe expressway, offers a unique blend of style, trendiness and local flavor that compliment with fine dining, exotic bars and a five star services.
“Leawood hotel is the perfect base for our valued guests to explore the rich culture and heritage of Lagos and is ideal for business and pleasure,” he explained.