The Imo State Government has announced plans to shut down hotels established without official approval.
Also to be affected are those that operate below standards, especially the ones lacking security devices and medical aids.
Commissioner for Transport and Tourism, Chief Ken Anaeme, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on programmes slated for the 2014 World Tourism Day celebration in the state which has the theme “Tourism and Community Development” said that the measure is part of government’s efforts to sanitise, strengthen and to boost tourism in the state.
Anaeme, who also denied allegations of government imposition of N40,000 on each hotel proprietor in the state for the purchase of a piece of the nation’s flag, said that a neutral body mutually selected by the government and the hotel owners is in charge of the project.
He added that the N40,000 levy was a product of mutual agreement between hotel owners and a private company .
Speaking extensively on the economic benefits of tourism, which according to him include job creation, business promotion, site seeing, rural transformation and spiritual uplift, Anaeme said that the state currently boasts of over 200 hotels and more than 150 tourist sites, some of which are either fully developed or are undergoing development.
“We are not forcing hoteliers to buy the nation’s flags at N40,000 per piece but as corporate bodies they (the hoteliers) must put up the Nigerian flag in their offices and premises and there is a company in charge of this,” he explained.
The Commissioner drew attention to Governor Rocha Okorocha’s administration’s free education programme, road construction, general hospitals, provision of infrastructural facilities and the Blue Lake of Treasure at Oguta which according to him are all geared toward promoting tourism in the state, stressing that the World Tourism Day which takes place on the 27th of September annually as established by the United Nations was meant to showcase the rich tourist potentials of the state to the world which has been encapsulated in a compendium for the information and awareness of members of the public.