Hoteliers in Imo on Saturday urged the state government and the state’s chapter of the NLC to settle their differences to save the tourism industry from collapse.
Governor Hope Uzodinma sacked his Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Mr Ford Ozumba, on Saturday over the face-off.
The face-off has led to total blackout in Owerri since Thursday as it grounded the operations of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, which feeds power to Imo.
The blackout has consequently put the hoteliers at risk as patronage ebbed out.
Chairman of the Imo chapter of the Nigerian Hoteliers Association, Mr Chima Chukwunyere, told newsmen in Owerri on Saturday the effect of the face-off on the tourism industry was become untoward.
He called on the warring parties to immediately sheath their swords and save the industry before it became late.
According to him, the high cost of diesel and ongoing cash crunch were enough challenges for the industry which continued to battle with multiple taxations in a dwindling economy.
He described the tourism industry as the second highest employer of labour in Imo and called on the parties to quickly resolve their differences in the interest of the state and her economy.
“The misunderstanding between the state government and the NLC in the state has dealt a devastating blow on the tourism industry.
“As the saying goes, where two elephants fight, the grass suffers and the grass here is the hotel industry.
“More than 80 per cent of hotels are on the brink of collapse. They have neither been able to pay staff salaries nor have they met other expenses since December 2022.
“Right now about 70 per cent of hotel owners in the state are asking people to leave their hotels because they want to relocate their businesses to either Asaba or to Ghana.
“It is such a worrisome situation and whatever is the problem between the warring parties should be sorted out quickly,’’ Chukwunyere pleaded.