By Glory James
The journey to economic freedom of Akwa Ibom State has in recent times assumed a different dimension with the current speed of development.
With Governor Udom Emmanuel’s deliberate and strategic investment through a multi-sectional approach to development, the state has registered an indelible presence on the global economic map.
One of such sectors that has received deliberate attention by the visionary governor and has placed the State in a pole position, is the hospitality industry which The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) refers to as the main driver in global value creation.
In the recent figures published by the WTTC, the Council averred that the sector’s global contribution of 8.6 trillion USD to the global economy in 2022 amount to about 11 per cent of the Global Gross Domestic Product, GGDP, making it one of the most lucrative and value adding sectors.
Possibly, it is this humongous contribution to the global economy and the need to cater for the massive influx of tourists, adventurists, business tycoons, others into the state, that endears the sector to the governor for investment just as the aviation.
Today, the Akwa Ibom State Government-owned Four Points by Sheraton (FPBS) Hotel in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area has been handed over to its new management, Marriott International, for test run and commencement of operations ahead of its official opening.
Currently, this hospitality outfit is built to Marriott’s standard, joining the prestigious list of elite-class facilities in the country. It is sited in the heart of Ikot Ekpene town on Ikot Ekpene – Aba Road with a premises area of 38,000sqm (3.8 hectares) and a total of 14-floors comprising of 1No Basement Floor, 1No Ground/Reception Floor, 1No Technical Floor and 11Nos Guests Floors housing 146rooms.
The rooms distributions are 2Nos Presidential Suites, 16Nos Executive Suites and 128Nos Standard Rooms.
Features of the hotel includes lifts, kitchen/preparatory rooms, storage rooms, laundry, main reception (with waterfall wall), 384 capacity ball room/auditorium, 3Nos meeting rooms, 5Nos offices, 3Nos shops, 11th floor roof top bar, adults/toddlers swimming pool and pump house, parking spaces for approximately 310 cars.
There is an elegantly furnished large restaurant/breakfast/all day dinning with garden terrace banquet areas, VIP lounge area and Lawn tennis Court. The Technical area has generators, water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant and drivers building alongside perimeter fence, gate house, water fountain and landscaping. The total construction area of the project is 13,000m2.
Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, has added to the architectural beauty of the state. Its rooftop terrace is a unique special feature which provides the guests a one spot panoramic view of Ikot Ekpene City.
Supervised by the Ministry of Special Duties and Ibom Deep Seaport and managed by the Marriot Group, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene is another milestone of development for Akwa Ibom people because of the overwhelming economic impact that it is expected to bring to bear through its operation.
Its full operations will promote robust foreign exchange inflow, generate additional revenue for development, create diverse employment opportunities, expand the socio-economic development of the state and provide the needed serenity for comfort, safety, relaxation and adventure.
Glory James is information officer at the Ministry Special Duties and Ibom Deep Seaport.