Hotel and Tourism operators in Nigeria are seeking an intervention from the government to help boost investments in the sector.
This was reiterated by Dr Chike Ezeudeh, the president of Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja (HOFA), who identified funds deficiency as being the major hindering factor to the growth of the industry. He made this appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
In his view, the solution to the paucity of investments in the sector would be government intervention through the granting of loans at a single digit interest rate to genuine investors in the sector. He also stated that government should also set up an effective and reliable Tourism Development Fund to assist investors.
“If the Federal Government provides an effective and reliable Tourism Development Fund, dedicated to investors in the hospitality and tourism industry to access and improve the sector, it will go a long to help”, he said.
“If government can address the issues of double taxation that is negatively affecting our operations, we would be able do more in assisting the various communities in the FCT,’’ Ezeudeh said.
Is this a good idea?
The development of tourism industry is critical to the economic development of the country. It will not only attract forex inflows through foreign patronage, it will also curtail the frittering of scarce forex which is spent on tourism abroad by Nigerians, as well as create employment opportunities.
However, the appeal for a development fund dedicated to tourism and hospitality for private sector may not really be the needed solution to the challenges currently facing the industry.
As much as funding may be an important means to solving the current challenges facing the industry, we believe there is need to also address issues around the high cost of operation in the industry. This high cost in most cases erodes the revenues of these companies operating and as such affects their profit.
According to Jumia Travel’s 2017 report and outlook for Nigeria, the Hospitality and Tourism industry in Nigeria was reported to have contributed about 4.8% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016.