Starwood’s N6bn hotel leads international brands into Ibadan

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Following the successful opening of Golden Tulip Owu Crown Ibadan a few years ago, international hotel brands are beginning to look beyond Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. They have begun to show interest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. Other reasons for the recent interest in Ibadan, industry watchers say, include the zest of the hospitality sector to expand frontiers, as well as the need to provide world-class accommodation facilities in the city which is a retreat location for many city dwellers and businesses. As the rush gathers momentum, the Starwood Group has commenced construction on its 150-room Four Points By Sheraton, which is expected to cost N6 billion. Located at the Mokola Hills, the proposed hotel is to be built in partnership with the Oyo State government, with 10 percent equity, including cost of the land. Work has already started on the project which is expected to be completed next year. In the same vein, the state is partnering international hospitality franchise groups, such as Hilton and Protea, with a projected construction of hotels at the Trans Amusement Park ground in Ibadan. Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State governor, said the state went in search of firms that could partner with it in constructing a decent four- or five-star hotel to accommodate the quality and quantity of investors the state envisages.

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The governor had projected to have three five-star hotels in his first term in office through Public Private Partnerships (PPP), with little or no contribution from the state government. These new entrants with international affiliations are going to compete with local hotels already operating in the state, including Premier Hotel, the pride of Ibadan, which is owned by the Odua Group. Other notable hotels in Ibadan include Kakanfo Inn, D’Rovans, Davies, IITA Hotel, K.S Motels, U.I Hotel, Lafia Hotel, which is owned by Odua states, La Richie Hotel, Green Spring Hotel, and D’Castle Inn. A hotel manager who spoke on condition of anonymity said the quality of the new entrants would kick up healthy rivalries which would raise the standard of the hospitality business in terms of ambience and quality of service, among others, as well as create jobs in the city.

He described as a good development the competition that would ensue with the arrival of the new hotels, but noted that it might lead to the closure of some hotels that are not well grounded.

To further boost economic activity in its domain, the state government is partnering Chinese firms to set up power generating companies, targeting 3,000 megawatts (MW). The move is aimed to boost electricity supply for many manufacturing companies in the state and attract new ones.

The state government and Chinese investors have also concluded arrangements for the manufacture of buses, cars, and agric equipment in the state.

The Chinese investors include those from Shaolin Bus Manufacturing Limited, Geely International Corporation, and Camaco-YTO Group, which is into manufacturing of agricultural equipment.

Also, Lugath Company from Mexico will soon commence the manufacturing of heavy-duty trucks, fire-fighting equipment and sanitary materials in the state.

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