By Samuel Adegoke
The Ekiti State Government has promised to create a compelling conducive business atmosphere for the blooming of the tourism and hospitality sector in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Tourism Development, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre gave the assurance on Monday while engaging members of the Hotelier’s Association of Ekiti State at Fajuyi Park, Ado Ekiti.
Ojo-Lanre who used the occasion to distribute a consignment of COVID-19 palliative items which include bags of food items and condom dispenser appliance to hoteliers, revealed that Dr Kayode Fayemi, who he described as a deep proponent of development tourism has put in place bountiful developmental strategy and offerings for tourism, hospitality practitioners and stakeholders in the state.
He disclosed that Fayemi being a cosmopolitan fellow with a vast experience in governance and administration is laying the fundamentals for sustainable germination, growth and blossoming of the tourism sector in the state.
Ojo- Lanre said that the palliative being handed over to the association was just a tip of the iceberg of palliative and incentives which would be rolling out from the stable of the state government, in recognition of the devastating effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on the hospitality industry in Ekiti state.
He disclosed that the governor recognised and appreciated the immense contributions, sacrifice and endurance of members of the association during the COVID -19 lockdown, hence his determination to cushion the effect of this, not only by the items donated on Monday but through other impactful acts.
The Special Assistant stated that Fayemi’s administration is focused on taking tourism to the next level, noting that the hotel and hospitality sub-sector of the industry plays a crucial role in tourism development and should be supported and encouraged.
The act of engagement of this association by Fayemi made a solid impression on the association, who nominated three of their members to make responsorial statements.
Prince Kayode Oni, President, Highflier Hotel, who is a retired civil servant applauded Fayemi for his proactiveness and determination at growing the tourism sector in the state.
He extolled the act of engagement of the association by the governor through his Senior Special Assistant on Tourism Development.
Oni disclosed that it was the first time that the association was being formally recognised and engaged purposefully by the government in the state.
He revealed that every tenure Fayemi has been a blessing to the tourism and hospitality sector, referencing some of the tourism enhancements and achievements embarked upon during his first tenure.
Oni expressed that he was not so much surprised by the governor’s sequential impressive tourism accomplishments in recent times.
He said they would be most grateful to the governor if he could sanitise the multiple taxes being loaded on their members and grading of the roads leading to some of these hotels.
Prof A. Akomolafe, promoter of Cultural Centre Hotels, Ikere, and an expert in biofuel said he was glad that the tourism sector is retaining committed attention from the government of Ekiti State which he hoped that this great leap would not be truncated.
Akomolafe lauded Fayemi for instituting private-public participation in Ekiti tourism sector which he said is building a bridge of trust between the government and tourism stakeholders in the state.
He canvassed for a synergy of purpose to be formed between Ekiti tourism stakeholders, security agencies and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
Otunba J. K. Ayeni, President, Ekiti State Hoteliers’ Association lauded Fayemi for recognising and having a feel of the immeasurable and irreparable impacts of the COVID-19 lockdowns on its members.
He assured that the bags of food items and condom dispenser appliances would be distributed to members at their next general meeting.
Present at the engagement forum were Mr Babatunde Dada, seasoned hospitality consultant and a delegation from Ekiti State AIDS Control Agency (EKSACA), led by Mr Charles Doherty, who enlightened members of the association on the use and essence of the condom dispenser machines which the agency donated as part of the palliative items.
Ayeni declared that members of the association would partner the government in building a virile tourism sector in Ekiti State.