Imo State University, Owerri and the Imo State Ministry of Tourism have brokered partnership on training of personnel of the hospitality industry in the state.
The partnership agreement was signed at a meeting on Thursday, June 24, 2021 between the Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Peter Akah and the state Commissioner for Tourism, Mazi Uche Ohia.
The meeting was held in the VC’s Conference Room when the Commissioner for Tourism paid a courtesy visit to the university’s helmsman.
The Commissioner toured the Department of Hospitality and Tourism at Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, the premier training facility for the tourism industry during the visit.
Speaking during the visit, the Commissioner stated that he was at the institution to seek collaboration with the institution on boosting tourism in the state.
The Commissioner said that the vision of the Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, was to make Imo State an irresistible tourism destination.
He said to realise that vision, the ministry was building a new partnership between government and the private sector, tourism stakeholders, communities, and institutions, especially institutions that have interests to protect or value to add in the tourism sector.
He noted that the state governor is focused on Public-Private Partnerships for tourism development and on partnership with key institutions and stakeholders in his bid to rebrand tourism in the state.
Mazi Ohia submitted that training of hospitality staff is key in the ministry’s agenda, adding that untrained or poorly trained personnel can bring the industry to ridicule or ruin.
The commissioner indicated interest in collaborative workshops and master classes and called on the VC to consider the introduction of tourism related short courses and certificate programmes in addition to the regular degree programmes of the university.
Responding, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Peter Ukah pledged commitment to a partnership with the ministry with a view to making the state the pride of tourism in Africa.
Prof. Ukah noted that IMSU was the first to establish a Department of Hospitality and Tourism in the country.
He maintained that the institution is proud of the products of the department.
Ukah disclosed that the university is already considering introducing a diploma programme in Hotel Management, aimed at ensuring adequate training of hotel staff for quality service delivery.
In his remark, the Head of Department of Hospitality and Tourism in the institution, Associate Prof. Emma Ukabilu, stated that the department established in 1992, has its products lecturing in almost all institutions across the country.
He appealed to the government to improve the infrastructure of the department for better teaching and learning.