Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed its commitment to partner key players in the tourism and hospitality industry towards fast-tracking economic growth.
The Government position was made known in Uyo on Tuesday, September 1, by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, during a Press Briefing to mark the official unveiling of the Guidelines for the Hospitality and Allied Services Operations, held at Ibom hotels and Golf Resort.
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Comrade Ini Ememobong who was the Special Guest at the occasion said, the State Government was opened for partnership with the Tourism industry players to create a synergy that will enhance the development of the potentials of the sector towards increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The state Spokesman said, tourism has been identified as one of the low hanging fruits with potentials to fast track the state’s economic recovery process in a post Covid-19 era and assured that Governor Udom Emmanuel was committed to the development and promotion of the tourism and hospitality industry for the benefit of the state.
Represented by the Director of Information, Akparawa James Edet, the Information helmsman reiterated that Akwa Ibom is very unique as every Local Government Area in the state is blessed with one natural endowment or the other with huge potentials for wealth creation, job creation and numerous value chain opportunities for the teeming youths of the State.
While explaining that the outbreak of Covid-19 has posed global economic challenges to every sector leading to the emergence of the new normal, Comrade Ememobong said, the development has underscored the need to review the operational guidelines for the hospitality business in the state in line with the World Health Organization ( WHO ) and the Nigerian Center For Disease Control ( NCDC ) Covid-19 prevention protocols.
He commended the Akwa Ibom Hospitality Monitoring Team for putting together the operational guidelines as a measure towards ensuring the safety of the operators of the industry and described the approach as a right step in the right direction.
On his part, the Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, Rt. Hon. Orman remarked that the Monitoring Team came up with the guidelines as necessary requirements for a safe reopening of hospitality outfits in the state and appealed to proprietors of hospitality facilities to embrace the guidelines to assist government in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.
The culture and tourism Boss revealed that his ministry and other relevant stakeholders has been mandated to ensure the enforcement of the Guidelines with an additional task to report back to the Governor on a weekly basis the compliance level for necessary reviews.
He expressed appreciation to Governor Udom Emmanuel for approving the guidelines and in his commitment to making sure that hospitality outfits reopen for services in the state
Also speaking, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Hotels Management Board, Mr. Ini Akpabio, who harped on the need for hospitality operators to adhere strictly to the guidelines emphasized that the monitoring team has been mandated to sanction defaulters.
Akpabio announced plans by Government to organise workshop, seminars and trainings for key stakeholders in order to achieve the desired goals.
Some of the guidelines for the reopening of hospitality and allied service in the state includes: Decontamination of hospitality outfits, setting up of Incident Command Center within the premises of the outfit, In-House Infections / Isolation Center, among others.
Dignitaries at the event were: the Hon. Member representing Itu state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem, Board Members of AKHMB, Media Aids to the Governor and representatives of media organizations.
Highpoint of the occasion was the official unveiling of the print publication listing the Nine points guidelines for hospitality and allied services operations in Akwa Ibom state by the Hon. Commissioner for Cultural & Tourism, Rt. Hon Orman Esin.
The reopening of hospitality outfits in the State is not inclusive of Nightclubs and other social activities in overcrowded environment.