Don’t stay in another state and de-market Rivers, hotel association chair

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.. Hails Gov Wike for reduction of taxation and creating enabling environment for businesses and investors in the state

By Gladys Nweke

The chairman of Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers State Chapter, Eugene Nwauzi, has called on members of public to disregard any information about relocation of hotels from Rivers State to any other state.

This is believed to be sequel to information circulated in social media  and some soft sale magazines on  hotels relocating from Rivers State to another state due to security reasons.

Nwauzi also called on journalists from other states to stop demarketing Rivers State because, according to him, the information is baseless and unfounded from those that are not from the state. He insisted that Lagos and other states have more security challenges than in Rivers State.

Nwauzi, while speaking with journalists in his office in Port Harcourt, expressed dissatisfaction on how some hoteliers were not following the procedures on check in and out of their customers in their hotels, saying such was in breach of international best practices.

He stressed that a committee was set up,  including all the security agencies due to security issues that were encountered by the hoteliers in 2019.

At that time, he stated, hoteliers were asked by the governor during his broadcast on the serial killing in the hotels to submit their manifest to the security agencies. He said some of the hoteliers didn’t even know what manifest was, but they managed to comply, thus bringing down the security threat levels.

Stressing that the association would soon visit and penalise those that refused to follow the instructions given by the association, he said this would be as soon as the police is ready.

The chairman also noted that during that time, all the hoteliers were asked to submit the particulars of the check in and out of their guests to the security agents including taxi drivers and airport taxis for proper profiling to ensure the safety of their guests.

The Nigeria Hotel Association which is also member of Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation went further to provide Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P) for hotels/motels/guest houses in Rivers State.

He named these as; Need for synergy between hotels and law enforcement agencies in the area of operations; Compulsory installation of functional CCTV in hotels specially to cover reception, corridors and entrance, grace of three weeks before the enforcement; Strict compliance to check in and check out procedure (guests cards, confirmed phone details, identity cards and registration of visitors); Training of hotel staff on security and safety in partnership with the police and other security agencies; Need for armed security personnel in hotels alternative contact area DPO to ensure patrol of your area; and All hotels with pool to ensure employment of competent life guards and pools should be closed when no life guard as any death from will be treated as murder.

Others he mentioned were; All cabs operating in and out of hotels including airport cabs must be properly profiled to ensure guest safety; Short time guest should be minimisized or eradicated as they commit more crime in the hotels; All hotels must belong to the association; and Guest report must be submitted to the police SIB unit weekly.

He also advised that any hotel that failed to comply may be closed permanently by the state government.

Nwauzi commended the governor for the reduction of taxation and creating enabling environment for businesses and investors. He called on investors to come and invest in Rivers especially in Agriculture. He thanked the Tourism Ministry for their cooperation with his association.

He frowned on continuing increase of electricity tariffs which he said was high in Rivers State than that of Lagos and Abuja.

Nwauzi called on those in charge to have a rethink on the tariffs and also appealed to the federal government on hike of petroleum products that would affect all sectors of economy especially in this time of Covid19 pandemic that ravaged the whole world.