By; VICTOR DURUAMAKU, Owerri
The outgoing administration in Imo State has challenged the state chapter of the Hoteliers Association of Nigeria, to promote tourism development in the state.
The state Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha gave this challenge at the inauguration of new Executives of the state chapter of the Association in Owerri onWednesday.
Speaking through, the state commissioner for Ministry of Tourism, Dr. Cyril Okafor, the governor also urged members of the association to unite and come up with ideas, initiatives and strategies towards making the state outstanding in hospitality industry in Nigeria.
He recalled that from past meetings, deliberations and seminars dogged efforts had been made in ensuring that the state government creates an enabling environment in the development and growth of hospitality industries enhancing the well being of the people visiting or living in the state.
Okafor, a pharmacist (AKA CYMPOK) stated this at the official inauguration of the new executives of the state Hoteliers association held in Owerri.
He listed few of the factors that enhance the above to include: security of lives and properties, adding that the state government, in collaboration with the law enforcement agencies had ensured serenity in “our vicinities which has indeed enabled our hospitality and recreation outfits to operate without fear or tension”.
The commissioner further disclosed that the hospitality industry in the state had developed a healthy, positive, competitive spirit in their daily business operations leading to very encouraging level of patronage and revenue boost.
Other areas according to him include: standardization, inspection, supervision among others which his ministry had continuously ensured for the development of tourism and hospitality in the state.
In his remarks, the new chairman of the hoteliers association in the state, Mr. Chima Chukwunyere disclosed that the emergency of his Excos was the first election for two decades and promises to ensure that the association is elevated to an enviable height.
Chukwunyere also gave an assurance that his team would liaise with the incoming administration in the state to ensure that the organization is recognized by the government and to help revamp the economy of the state since the hospitality industry is the largest employer of labour in the state outside the state government.
He said that the days of multiply taxation are over as leaders of association would liaise with the state government to tackle the problem.
SP Edodi Bassey who spoke on behalf of the commissioner of police in the state enjoined the hoteliers to always scrutinize their guests, get their proper addresses, mobile phone numbers before accepting them into their hotel.
He said that refusal by any guest to oblige them exposes such a guest as a suspect which should attract the immediate attention of the police for necessary action.
Bassey asked the new Exco to work in synergy and in unity to move their association forward.
Also speaking CS/Obasi Gordian Aguguo who represented the comptroller of immigration Imo state command noted that some foreigners at times deliberately refuse to disclose their authentic mission in the country while others criminally claim to be Nigerians when they are not.
He asked the new Exco to henceforth submit their daily manifest to his office for proper guidance.
Adding his voice Julius Onyenaho – chairman Imo Tourism board congratulated the new Exco on their emergence and gave an assurance that his office would do all within its jurisdiction to smoothen their tenure including stoppage of imposition and collection of unauthorized levies by miscreants.