• Atim Uko.

As part of efforts to place Akwa Ibom on the world’s tourism map, the Chairman, Akwa Ibom Hotels Management and Tourism Board, Mr Ini Akpabio, has harped on the need for effective documentation of hospitality outfits in the state .

Mr Akpabio stated this during a joint meeting with members of Restaurant and Bar Operators of Nigeria (RABON), Hotel Proprietors Association ( HPA) and the Hospitality Consultants and Managers Association of Nigeria(HOCMAN), in the conference room of the Board, at Ewet Housing on Thursday 4th March, 2020.

He noted that Akwa Ibom is a global destination brimming with viable opportunities to attract investors and urged the stakeholders in the various hospitality outfits to be innovative and partner with the Board for proper documentation of their services and operations.

Mr Akpabio said a comprehensive documentation would ensure standard brochures containing Names, Addresses, Contacts and services offered by the various hospitality outfits, would be made available for easy access to tourists.

The Chairman said the Board has initiated a blue print that would harness the potentials existing within the various Associations in the hospitality industry, to boost the economy and help the operators have value for their investments.

Mr Akpabio expressed his readiness to initiate a meeting between the hospitality outfits, and the security agencies, and the Internal Revenue Services to discuss their security concerns, and checkmate unnecessary taxation and harmonise the various levies imposed on them.

Earlier, the Chairman of Restaurants and Bar Operators of Nigeria (RABON), Akwa Ibom chapter,Engr Ema Okon Ekong, thanked the Chairman for the opportunity given them as a body to familiarise with the Board and intimate him of developments in the Association.

He stated that RABON is an organisation comprising Restaurants, Bars, Grilling centres and barbecue operators, with a membership strength of 30,000 across the state.

He listed some of the challenges confronting the Association to include multiple taxation, security, hoarding and inflation which has affected their services.

Engr Ekong lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel’s developmental strides in the state and pledged the Association’s readiness to partner with the with the state government in its efforts to develop the tourism industry to a global standard.

The Secretary of the Association, Mr Charles Bassey, corroborated the RABSON Chairman’s speech by soliciting for partnership with the state Security Agencies for the safety of their customers and businesses.

He also appealed to the Board to set up modalities to check hoarding of goods and inflation which has affected their businesses negatively.

The Director of Information, Akparawa James Edet, commended the Associations for their readiness to partner withe Board for effective data base documentation and harmonisation of Operations, to showcase the rich tourism potentials existing in the state.

Akparawa Edet who is also a member of the Hotel Management and Tourism Board, lauded the Chairman for his ingenuity and wealth of experience he has brought to bear in running affairs of the Board.

Highpoint of the meeting was the presentation of the proposed 2021 tourism calendar by the Board Chairman.

Present at the meeting were the Director of Administration and Supplies in the Hotel and Tourism Management Board, Mrs Agnes John Udo; the Vice Chairman RABON, Mr Idonrenyin Essien; theTreasurer RABON, Mr Solomon Thompson; the state PRO, Akwa Ibom Hotels Association – Mr Possibility Akpan; the Chairman, Eket Hotels Proprietors Association, Obong David Mbre
the Secretary of HOCMAN, Mr Emmanuel Patrick James as well as other stakeholders in the hospitality outfits and other officials of the Hotel and Tourism Board.