By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja (HOFA) has appealed to the Federal Government to provide a development fund dedicated to tourism and hospitality for private sector investors to help grow the sector.
Dr Chike Ezeudeh, the president of HOFA made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
“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.
“The loan can be given at a single digit interest rate to genuine investors in the sector.
“The fund is absolutely necessary because presently, you cannot get loan from the bank; also even if you build a hotel, it needs constant renovation.
“Guests come into the hotel and stay for days, months and even years which lead to infrastructure decay ; you need intervention fund to renovate and put them in perfect condition,’’ Ezeudeh said.
He also said that, the fund could assist investors to develop some tourist sites to encourage inbound tourists to patronise these sites across the country.
He stressed that with good hotels and tourism sites within the country, Nigerians would be encourage to spend their holidays in the country instead of going to tourist sites in other countries of the world.
Ezeudeh, who spoke further on the social responsibilities of association, said it has given employment and empowering the indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He reiterated that members of the association regularly patronise local and indigenous farmers saying “we buy food stuffs from them to use in our Hotels.
“We are working with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to develop some tourism sites; after we develop them, we will use the indigenes as tour guides in their communities.
“They will be in charge of educating tourists about the sites and other side attraction.
“This job will empower them financially and reduce criminality; we are also planning to dig boreholes in some communities to provide portable drinking water for them.
“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.