Worsening economy threatens 100,000 tourism jobs

EconomyOver 100,000 jobs in hospitality and tourism sector of the economy across the federation are hanging on a precarious balance.

While many employees in the sector have already lost their jobs, those going to survive the massive layoffs may have to contend with pay cuts.

No thanks to worsening economic downturn, foreign exchange crisis, and sharp rise in the cost of power generation, security issues, particularly the North East, and other gruelling challenges facing the economy.

Indeed, the sector is one of the highest employers of labour with thousands of hotels and tourism sites, providing direct and indirect employment to millions of people.
Operators in the industry explained that overhead cost of running the business has skyrocketed above income, leaving many struggling for survival.

A close source, who craved anonymity, revealed that most of the operators had to shut down their businesses last year, adding that the macro economic concerns facing the economy is having multiplier effect on the sector.

Specifically, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Seasons Hotels & Suites Limited, Michael Anyanwu, stated that dollar exchange crisis, sharp rise in the cost of power generation, security challenges in country, and the other gruelling challenges facing the economy have dealt devastating blow on the industry.

He disclosed that foreigners no longer come to do business in the country as a result of dollar scarcity because they are not sure of capital/dividends repatriation.

“Also exchange rate of dollar to the naira is not favourable to importers any more. Infact, most of the Ocean Liners had to cancel or reschedule their Vessel itenary into the country as the Liners are almost without cargo. Most of them are no more doing businesses let alone taking time off to rest.

“So demand has dropped sharply, while the supply side can only be upward flexible and every aspect of the economy is affected. It is a very big challenge that we are into because few people can scarcely afford the basic needs not to talk of relaxation today,” Anyanwu stated.

The professional banker, who ventured into entrepreneurship stated that huge money spent on diesel and power generation could be saved to sustain the workforce if government acts fast to solve electricity problem.

He explained that since his three-star hotel located in Aguda Surulere area of Lagos, opened for business this year, he has been running on power generators at an average cost of N850, 000 per month excluding maintenance.

Also lamenting on the state of the sector, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Perfect Suites Limited, Prince Kingsley Ugochukwu, said that he is about to quit the business because it is no longer a profitable one.

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