The negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria’s hospitality and tourism sectors has led the current leadership of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) to embark on sensitisation visits to tourism facilities in Nigeria. Starting with Abuja, the President of FTAN, Alhaji Saleh Rabo, led a team of the Federation’s executive members to leading hospitality outlets including Transcorp Hilton hotel, Rockview hotel and Kapital Klub and Apartments. FTAN president, who spoke with travel and tourism reporters in Abuja, said “the global tourism industry is one of the most adversely affected by this pandemic, and the industry in Nigeria is really very badly hit. Most hotels in Nigeria are now operating with less than 30% guest occupancy rate; thereby operating at a loss and consequently forced to downsize staff, in order to reduce costs and save them from shutting down completely.”
The President also revealed that FTAN members are the largest financial and institutional investors in Nigeria’s tourism industry till date, including investments in hotels, resorts, transport services, tour operations, travel agencies, folklore entertainers and many more. He stated that FTAN members provide jobs to thousands of Nigerian employees, both as direct and indirect labour. He therefore expressed sadness at the dire toll Covid-19 is having both on operators’ business bottom-lines and on the personal lives of tourist facility owners and staff members. The latest FTAN sensitization visit began at the prestigious Transcorp Hilton where FTAN executives were received and held a brief meeting with the hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Kevin Brett and other management executives. In the meeting Alhaji Saleh Rabo explained that “this visit is two-fold in nature; it is both a solidarity and a sensitization visit. It is a solidarity visit because we came to express our support and to stand with you in the face of the biting losses you are incurring due to low occupancy in your hotel. Secondly, this is also a sensitization visit to encourage you on the need to activate and sustain the coronavirus preventive measures for the benefit of your guests and teeming staff members.”
Responding, the Director of Operations for Transcorp Hilton, Mrs. Ebi Emmanuel-Seimodei, appreciated the team and highlighted all the coronavirus preventive measures the hotel had put in place for guests and staff safety at the beginning of the outbreak, even before the covid-19 was declared a global pandemic. She assured the visitors that enforcement of the coronavirus preventive measures in the hotel was total, assuring that all guests, including Nigerian and foreign dignitaries, must have their temperatures taken and use the lavishly provided hand sanitizers before being allowed entry into the hotel.
Subsequently, FTAN team went to Rockview hotels and Kapital Klub Apartments where the management of the hotels displayed professionalism in their enforcement of the Coronavirus preventive measures. At both hotels, the visiting team met the hotels’ Health and Safety Officials and their General Managers, who elaborately showcased their guest temperature checking equipment and different types of hand sanitizers for guests and staff, including mounted and hand-held sanitizers. They also how how their in-house medical team would collaborate with relevant government health agencies, if the need arises to report a symptomatic guest.
Speaking with reporters in Asokoro, Alhaji Badaki Aliyu, the General Manager of Kapital Klub Apartments said “the fight against the spread of Covid-19 is everyone’s fight, especially for all staff and every guests. In the early days when we saw the contagious nature of Coronavirus, we immediately invested in staff training to prepare and equip our team on how to handle guests and deliver memorable hotel experiences, without compromising public health safety and personal hygiene. This is our industry; hence we have to contribute to keep it afloat.”