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Akwa Ibom, SON, FTAN Sign MOU On Standard In Hospitality Industry

Akwa Ibom state government has signed a memoradum of understanding ( MoU) with Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) to ensure standard and sanity in hospitality industry in the state.

The  agreement  was signed by the State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon Orman Esin for the state government , while Mr. Nkereuwem Onung signed for FTAN and  Felix Nyado signed for the Director General SON, Mallam Farouk Salim.

Executing the tripartite  agreement in Uyo, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism said  the state government decided to partner with relevant agencies to raise standard practice in hospitality industry across the state.

“We are in a state where we believe that everything must have a standard. Akwa Ibom is one of the states that generates internal revenue starting from Ibom Air because when you pay to Ibom Air , you are paying to the state government. We are very interested in how to grow tourism industry as Ibom Air is expanding.

“Since the outbreak of COVID- 19 , we started to develop our tourism sector . There are tourism sites in the state to develop .

“We have intention to grow Akwa Ibom tourism sector and build it to a global and we need to develop a standard to meet International best practices in the sector,” he said.

He lauded  the Chairman Akwa Ibom State Tourism and Hotels Management Board, Obong Ini Akpabio for bringing ingenuity and ideas that will reposition tourism sector to a global standard

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Uko Udom (SAN)  said the MoU was a legal framework that must be carefully studied to avoid conflict with already existing laws of the state on operations of tourism businesses in the state.

The Attorney General, who was represented by Director of Civil Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, Barrister Bassey Ekanem advised the state government to set up implementation committee on standard practice in the hospitality industry in the using the agreement as a blueprint in their operations.

The DG of  SON,  Salim, who represented the organisation in the MoU,  noted that tourism and hospitality sector has become the fastest growing industry but lacking quality  services that meet International standard .

“As you are aware, tourism and hospitality sector is the fastest growing industry in Nigeria that are product and services oriented . However, the quality of its service delivery is far from being right.”

He said standardisation and quality assurance approach in hospitality business were identified by tourism and hospitality practitioners in 2018 as key solution to address poor quality service delivery.

Salim, who was represented in the MoU execution by Nyado recalled that hospitality stakeholders worked with SON on technical and National Mirror Committees to produced standardization deliverables for the sector.

He said the standard practice is being test run in Lagos State adding that Akwa Ibom will be the first state on the implementation of standard in hospitality business .

“This standard is auditable and will ensure that hotels and service accommodation are graded and certified across the country. The State Tourism Board will ensure transparency in it’s implementation . The state Tourism Board will carry out the aspect of inspection (ISO 17020) while SON and FTAN will carry out management system certification component (ISO 17021) to establish the grading and quality management system status of the hotel.

He explained  that the partnership arrangement is a an organizational model used to overcome weakness of the policy and governance framework in the and related activities sector in Nigeria .

“It is expected that this partnership framework if given political support will provide the needed guides towards sanitizing the sector, enhance competitiveness , deliver value to the hotel owner and improve on the quality of service delivery in hospitality industry,” he added.

Source:Thissday

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