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Nelson Mandela Gardens and Didi Museum Exhibited At Akwaaba; Their Managers Had Thoughts To Share 

Akeem Fashola said Nigeria needs more hospitality institutes, while Chukwuemeka Jibunoh harped on the need to protect Nigerian artists.

 Akeem Fashola, General Manager of the Nelson Mandela Garden managed by Silk Road Hospitality acknowledged that though hospitality is one of the lucrative and revenue earners in Nigeria, it lacks the manpower to back up the industry.

Silk Road Hospitality offers vital experiences in hospitality to customers as well as a great atmosphere for career advancement for its employees.

Its products and services include full-service hotel advancement, food and beverage concepts and operations, support for development, cutting-edge design advice, cutting-edge technological applications, on-site visits and inspections, economic advice, financial reports, recruitment, employment, and training of personnel.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS at the Akwaaba African Travel Market on Monday, Fashola spoke on the Nelson Mandela Gardens located in Asaba, Delta State, which is also known as the Garden of 95 Trees, one of many properties managed by the company. 

He stated that the future of hospitality in Nigeria depends on the creation of real time careers in the sector.

“Nigeria and Africa seem to have a sound history when it comes to culture, but it is not enough that we are just building hotels, restaurants and bars. What about the capacity building and creating an environment where people see real time careers in hospitality? Because, no matter how beautiful your place is, it is the service that is being rendered in these outlets that makes it more interesting. There isn’t enough human capital development to meet up with the future development of Hospitality.”

Still under the management of Silk Road is the City Green Hotel, located in Yola, Adamawa State amongst other establishments. The establishment was one of the various ones that was showcased within the exhibition to aid in the mission of promoting hospitality In Nigeria. According to its Sales and Marketing Manager, Minah Emmanuel,  “This event is going to boost hospitality in Nigeria in the sense that we have lots of tourists coming in to see what’s happening. These tourists will see that Nigerians are hospitable people.

“For example, when I went to Adamawa there was a stigma in my mind about insecurity, but I found out that these people are actually hospitable. The same thing applies to these foreign persons. As much as we hear  bad news about Nigeria, on Air and in newspapers and online, these things about Nigeria and that is, we are hospitable.

“Silk Road Hospitality is looking out for an avenue to get other hotels to manage and give the proper guest satisfaction. “

DIDI Museum, Lagos is also a prominent client of the establishment as they aim in bringing together hospitality and art preservation in the nation to ensure that Nigerian artists are given adequate recognition.

Speaking to ARISE News, Chukwuemeka Jibunoh, an art curator for the museum lamented about the exportation of art from the primary market which is Nigeria to the secondary market outside the country which has robbed artists of their royalties.

“A lot of artists aren’t being recognized for their works. A lot of art is being shipped out to other countries and sold abroad but the artists responsible for making them are not getting the recognition they deserve.

“We want to protect artists and their works, so if the works are sold ten times, they continue to get the royalties they deserve.

“I see art continuing to hit marks and new heights. It’s very revered all around the world and people keep looking for it all over the globe. I know it will continue to grow. But we still need to control and monetize it  so artists can get their recognition.”

DIDI museum is recognised as the first private-owned museum in Nigeria established in 1938.

In a final statement, Fashola Akeem stated that the fate of hospitality in the nation is dependent on the ability to bring continuity by promoting institutes that specialize in the sector. “If state institutions don’t pay attention to schools of hospitality where people can be groomed to be able to see real time hospitality, then there will be challenges. What you will see is hospitality outlets being opened and in one or two years, they will die due to lack of consistency.  There is no continuity.

“If we can, as a country and a people, promote hospitality and look into the aspect of creating more hospitality schools or putting into the curriculum the study of the business of hospitality, knowing fully well that as we speak, that it is the highest revenue generating sector in the country.

“If we can have people  who can sustain and keep continuity of such initiatives, then in five years, Nigeria and Africa will be seen as a hub all over the world to attract people.”

Glamour Adah

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