Lagos, Nigeria – Nigeria’s tourism and hospitality sector has received a major boost with the opening on Sunday night of the 23-storey Intercontinental Hotel in the economic capital city of Lagos.
The hotel is being described as Nigeria’s first five-star hotel and the tallest of its kind in West Africa.
“It is very clear that there is growth on the Africa continent, but we are dealing with growths without jobs,” said Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, who declared the hotel open.
”The answer lies in continuous pushing of frontiers of commitment, continuous investments and emphasis on the possibilities that lies here,” he said.
Gov. Fashola added: “Tourism represents major sector in which we can create economic growth, create jobs and expand opportunities. Sadly enough, tourism destination are beset with challenges across our continent, but are we rising up to the challenges.”
The Governor said he was particularly delighted that the hotel’s design, the financing, construction and labour were all local.
The 30-billion-naira investment is fully owned by the Milan Group, an International business organisation with chains of hotels across the world, including the Intercontinental Hotels Group (US$1=155 Naira).
Located in the highbrow residential and financial business area of the commercial city, the 358-room hotel provides direct jobs for 650 Nigerians and 24 expatriates.
Milan Group Chairman Ramesh Valechha said the location of the hotel was a testimony to the confidence the group has in the Nigerian economy, disclosing that the imposing edifice took eight years to complete.
“We are glad to be in Lagos and to give Nigeria its first five-star hotel. We are proud of this initiative, our goal is to create hotel that will give world class services,” he said.
The opening ceremony was attended by celebrities, members of the diplomatIc corps, international businessmen, and top government officials, among others.