Kidnapping, Covid-19, Crippling Hospitality Business, Say Hoteliers

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Hospitality and tourism business in Nigeria have been seriously endangered by kidnapping and the COVID-19 pandemic, making operators to suffer, the Proprietor of the Prosperous Royal Hotels and Resort, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Mr. Abiodun Isinkaiye has said.

Isinkaiye said the business has always been battling with the persistent issue of epileptic power supply in Nigeria, adding that the increasing cases of abduction and COVID-19 pandemic, had further worsened the situation.

He said this while speaking with newsmen on behalf of his colleagues, as part of the activities lined up for the 2021 annual public lecture and awards presentation by the Nigeria Union of Journalists Correspondents’ Chapel, Ekiti Council, slated for October 28, in Ado Ekiti.

Isinkaiye appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors to work hard to tame the rising cases of killings by unknown gunmen, which he said had severely affected the hospitality sector.

He said: “Management of hotels business had always been a problem in Nigeria in view of epileptic electricity supply we have been facing for long. We rely on diesel as a source of power, which reduces our profit margin because power supply has to run for 24 hours to give our customers comfort.

“As we were still trying to cope with that, the COVID-19 and kidnapping reared their ugly heads. The two had really affected hospitality business in Nigeria negatively, in fact, we can’t quantify the hardship that we are facing in the sector, it is of highest order.

“Since the two started in full force, business environment has changed. The number of visitors to our facilities have reduced, fearing that they could be kidnapped or contracted COVID-19 virus.”

He added: “When those who are visiting the state from the government or corporate world are to be five, the management will cut down the number to two because of these challenges and these are the people we rely mostly for patronage.

“Except we are deceiving ourselves, it has not been easy with the operators of this business in recent times. Again, though we are not getting many visitors and the few ones we get must be safe and secured, and this makes us to also invest more in providing security so that our visitors are not kidnapped.

“The government also is enforcing COVID-19 compliant in all facilities. We are investing more monies buying sanitisers and other facilities that are making safety protocols easier, which gulped huge amount of money and constituting huge burden to us.”

Isinkaiye described hospitality as an employment-generating sector in the country that requires attention of the government at all levels.

The proprietor also pleaded with government for more patronage, to ensure the survival of the business in Ekiti State.