Akwa Ibom State government has said that all hotels and Tourism centres across the state would soon be certified with Operational Permit in line with global standard and international best practices in tourism industry.
The Permit would also enable the state to sustain it’s status as the best tourism destination point as recently awarded to the state during the tourism conference held in Lagos last week.
Speaking to newsmen in uyo on Thursday, the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Hotels Management and Tourism Board, Mr Ini Akpabio said arrangements have been concluded with National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism for capacity building of staff working in Hotels and Tourism Centres in the state before the operating license is issued to them.
“We have reached out to the federal government through the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism which is recognized for all hotel, catering and training in the whole country and they have agreed to partner with us. What we intend to do is to train all the people that work within the Hospitality and Tourism Industries in Akwa Ibom State ”
“We would give them what we call ‘Operational Permit ‘. Operational Permit means that in the future you can not go to Bar and somebody serves you drink without Bar Attendant’s Permit. A Bar Attendant’s Permit means that you have been trained to be a Bar Man and that he can serve you properly. By doing this, we will increase even the service standard ”
Akpabio observed what he described as ‘service deficit’ in hotels operating in the state and assured tourists that such short fall will be remedied when the Operational Permit would be implemented.
Referring to the recent award as the best state in tourism, Akpabio said there are many loopholes to be checked in the tourism sector and applauded governor Udom Emmanuel and past governors in the state for laying a solid foundation for tourism.to thrive in the state.
He listed good internal road network, floating of Ibom Airline and security in the state as facilitating agents for the success of tourism business in Akwa Ibom.
” It’s not that we have succeeded 100 per cent but when you compare our state to other states in Nigeria, you will agree with me that the level of security herd is very high which accounted for the reason we were chosen as destination point for tourists. ”
Akpabio explained that the state Tourism Board has been in regular interaction with stakeholders in the industry to build a data platform for all tourism centre and Hotel operators through documentation of all players in the industry as another means to put them on the right pedestal in their operations.
“We are going to put them in a digital platform to ensure that all the hotels and Tourism centres are known to the government starting from this month. ” he said.