Africa: Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort to partner tour operators for domestic tourism growth in Nigeria

Ibom Brian

With exceptional performance in the Nigerian hospitality sector despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic which is depleting revenue generation of most service providers and forcing multinational brands to go under, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort says it is set to partner with tour operators to drive domestic tourism in the country.

The resort which emerged as one of the Top 3 most mentioned accommodation facilities on the first phase of the Naija7Wonders Zoom Conference has become one of the sort after destinations in the south-south region of the country.

Speaking during a Seven Wonders of Nigeria virtual conference, General Manager, Ibom Hotel and Gold Resort, Brian Efa said the facility has been able to successfully move up room occupancy from 35-40% to 85% and full capacity despite the challenges facing hospitality providers globally due to the coronavirus pandemic,

He stated that the facility is ready to collaborate with tour operators in the country to drive domestic tourism growth adding that one of the goals of the resort is to turn hotel into a destination of choice among Nigerian and globally.

He said: “This year we introduce tour packages for tour operators, this was not part of our rate structure in time past but we have to introduce it. Because as a key stakeholder in this industry, I have to annex all possible avenue of making my occupancy remain high. So we introduced various packages for our tour operators and then we divided them into three categories: the diamond, gold and silver. That is how we categorise our tour operators. Those in the silver category are those that are doing just four rooms and above but less than 50 rooms. And once you have done 50 rooms and above you become the gold partner. And then if you are doing 100 room nights in a year you become our diamond partner.

“So, depending on what category you fall into and depending on your performance that determines your rate. It is not actually a flat rate because we also reward those who have worked so hard with us. So for the diamond partners these are the people that have the lowest rates ever, followed by those that have the gold category and those for the silver will pay higher. So I want to invite all tour operators to send us letters, and we will collaborate with them and we will show you all of these conditions that qualify you. But by and large you are paying far less than our lowest rates ever and that is because we recognise the importance of tour operators. And then we want to make sure that these people also benefit and grow with the industry.

On attraction the resort Brain said: “We have what we call discovery walk which is a complimentary service within the resort. And it takes a lot of energy to walk through some historical parts in the resort and our tour guide does that so fantastically well.

“One thing you will see in this resort is a slave trade boat. This boat was excavated from the water at the marina angle of the resort. They were two of them but we sent one of them to Calabar and placed one of them here. That boat is over a-100 years old and it was manufactured in London. Incidentally, we traced the manufacturer in London. Now when I took over, this boat is just lying right by the sea. So we have done or what we are doing right now is to build a shade on the boat, paint it and then right a little description of that boat.

“Now we also have what we call the signature holes, you will go through all the 18 holes golf course. At the place of the signature holes, you stand on a mountain and see down the valley. And from that hill, you will oversee the Itu Bridge heading on the way to Calabar. And then you also see the harbour that was used by AJ Leventis in those days to bring in consignments from Calabar, Europe and other places. So, the resort itself is a wonderful master piece that you can spend more than two hours walking round the 178 hectares of land.

“And of course also in this city you can go to quite a number of places like the Lord Lugard House, the bunker- the underground where the slaves were kept. You can see where the Aba women riot actually started and then you can also see some other places like the Mary Slessor house in Ibionu and a lot more. And of course if you look at our marina house, someone once commented that this is the old residency in Calabar, and I said it is not, that is actually the oldest building in the resort that was there since the time of the colonial masters. So these are some of the things that you can see in Akwa Ibom State.”

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