Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed its delight for recording the first profit from its Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort in more than 13 years since it was established.
The hotel otherwise called 5-Star Hotel, located in the outskirts of Uyo, but in Uruan local government area, was established by Obong Victor Attah administration in 2007 where many international golf stars graced its inauguration.
However, the hotel has largely been seen as a white elephant which drains the state’s resources as the government has hitherto been paying subvention to sustain it, including paying for the ‘Le Meridien’ franchise which was a part of its initial nomenclature.
Udom Emmanuel administration was said to have declined subventing the hotel leading to a change of name from Le Meridien Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort.to simply Ibom Hotels and Gold Resort.
The state commissioner for tourism, Mr Orman Esin who disclosed this to newsmen in Uyo yesterday, said the hotel has witnessed a boost with new management even as it has for the first time since inception remitted N200 million to the state government as annual profit.
Esin said that plans are underway to develop, redevelop, sanitize and expand existing tourist centres in the state in order to reinvigorate the tourism sector in the state.
He said plans have already been concluded to expand and redevelop Ibom Plaza and Unity Park, two major tourist centres in Uyo that have witnessed dwindling fortunes in recent times.
Esin who expressed regret over the deteriorating condition of the plaza and increase in criminals activities in the facility said that his ministry would soon submit a memo to the State Executive Council on expansion, redevelopment of the plaza while the termination illegal trading activities there would be done in such a way in order not to destroy the businesses and income of traders already there.
“Across the bridge is the park where people parked their vehicles climb over the bridge to the other side. The idea now is that you can not access this place except you are coming through the mall. At the back of the mall, you have a sit out. This is how we are going to remodel the plaza.
“The car park we have there already will be expanded into the land where the old Uyo market used to be. The idea is for people to park their cars there and walk across the bridge into the mapped and then to where they can relax with their families,” the commissioner explained.