Hotel industry is one of the largest industries in the tourism sector which has played a vital role in the hospitality industry especially in providing tourist with the needed comfort in any tourist destination (Laws, 1995). It is an agent of economic and social change, a service-based industry of creating employment and income (World Tourism Organization, 1997). This industry is made up of production units which engaged in providing different service such as entertainment, lodging, production and distribution of goods and services to meet individual satisfaction (Isang, 2001). According to Ugal (2007) hotel industry is an engine of poverty alleviation, it generate a number of additional guest facilities such as restaurant, a swimming pool or childcare and social function services which provide revenue use to service other sectors and also for other auxiliary services. Today, must of the hospitality industry such as hotels in Turkey have 5,005 rooms and with a hotel manpower straight of about 2,000 men and women employed to ensure guest comforts (Yu, 1994). Richter (1981) affirm that hotel is an attractive way to generate scarce foreign exchange, create jobs for semi-skilled and unskilled labour. In Cross River State over one thousand five hundred hotels established and duely registered by Cross River State tourism bureau are located in the three senatorial districts (Larry, 2005). According to him, the industry has a total manpower of over 5000 skilled and unskilled workers who provided the needed services to ensure tourist comfort. This industry has created multiplier effect especially in the establishment of business outfits such as recharge operators, restaurants, laundry services and catteries which become a source of their livelihood (Aniah, 2009). However, the rise and fall of the industry pose a serious problem as most of the hotels have folded up and workers laid off. Beside, despite the number of hotels in Calabar much has not been felt by the people. Could one say that the industry has not contributed to the wellbeing of the people? What role is the industry playing in poverty alleviation in Cross River State. Therefore, this paper wish to assess the impact of the hotel industry in poverty alleviation with respect to yearly tourist arrivals, reasons for tourist visit to Cross River State as a tourist destination, length of stay, employment level in the various hotels, revenue generation in the hotels and the monthly remuneration paid to staff in the industry. However, in Cross River State, hotel industries are point of attraction due to the modern facilities and services delivery which are of great interest to fun seekers and tourist (Lalopa, 2005).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Hospitality means providing service to others, as well as demonstrating consistent excellence and quality. It should also mean profitably providing value at any price level, while demonstrating your own unique points of distinction. Most of all, hospitality should be a “place”, where people can still be exceptional individuals and they can extend their own personality and style (Hogan, 2008).The hospitality industry is part of a huge group of companies known as travel and tourism industry, which provides the necessary or desirable goods and services to travelers. The hospitality and tourism industries are the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world (Walker, 2010).
The hospitality businesses make continuous efforts for maintaining a positive image along with great guest service. It appears that quality service is the basis to industry success. Thus, those organizations that focus on quality become the leaders for on-going guest satisfaction, creating loyalty and influencing
The growth of the global tourism industry is immense, with international arrivals growing by 51 percent over the last ten years, from 594 million in 1997 to an estimated 898 million in 2007 (UNWTO, 2008). In terms of tourism expenditure, a total of US$733 billion was spent in 2006, marking an increase of US$372 billion since 1996 (UNWTO, 2008). Based on this performance, it is forecasted that the world tourism arrivals will continue to increase in the coming years and reach 1.6 billion tourists by the year 2020.
In line with the overwhelming pace of tourism growth, tourism and hospitality have become an important source of employment for many countries, making it one of the key employers in the global economy.
According to the estimates from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2004, tourism generates around 214.7 million jobs worldwide (or 8.1% of world employment) and accounts for over 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Employment in the world’s tourism and hospitality industry in 2007 is also estimated at 8.3% of total world employment, with 231 million jobs, or one in every 12 jobs worldwide. These figures clearly indicate that the role of tourism and hospitality as a job provider is significant. With more countries, especially those at the developing stage, giving priority towards making tourism an important income generator.
Since the late 1980s tourism has received considerable attention in the economic development strategy of Nigeria. The number of tourist arrivals and amount of tourists’ expenditure has steadily increased, while both public and private investment activity in various tourism sub-sectors have expanded. The government established a Ministry of Tourism in 1993 to underscore its commitment to tourism development, and with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Tourism is a major social phenomenon of the modern society with enormous economic consequences. Its importance as an instrument for economic development and employment generation particularly in remote areas and a positive step for poverty elimination has been accepted the world over.
In Nigeria, tourism is one of the important subsectors in the services sector. It is young and a developing industry in Nigeria. Traditionally, the major foreign exchange earners of Nigeria are gold, timber and cocoa.
However, Nigeria has shifted focus from over-dependence on these traditional commodities and sees tourism as a potential to become the number one foreign exchange earner. Tourism is placed third in terms of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria. The tourism sector has the potential to contribute to economic growth. This can be seen in the areas of employment creation as well as income generation potential. Thus, the tourism subsector has shown that it can contribute significantly to Gross Domestic Product, private sector investment, employment and export diversification, and contribution to foreign exchange earnings (The State of the Nigeria economy (SGE), 1991).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Unemployment rates are particularly high among graduate and especially among school leaves, giving rise increasingly to the problems of "educated unemployment". Paradoxically, graduate unemployment seems to be correlated with levels of education attained in some cases. This is particularly true for school leavers in, for example, Nigeria where the proportion of the unemployed with secondary education increased from 24 to 51 percent between 1974 and 1985. graduate employment rates are probably 3 - 4 times higher than those of older workers, and in many countries in the region open unemployment among graduate as a group in the labour could be as 40 - 50 percent.(John Obi Steve 2001, ‘Nigerian Irrigation Analysis’)
Due to the issue mention above has resulted to the need of this research work, the research sees the problem and seek to highlight possible ways to solve this ugly manner facing our country.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Having in mind the issues that arise or brought about this research work, the researcher seeks to address and create a channel among the citizens of the community the effect hospitality and the tourism industry has to the employment rate of the nation at large. This work objectives will also cover the following;
1. Job creation in the industry to the community
2. Highlights on courses of unemployment
3. To identify the programmes of Tourism and Hospitality industry in creating employment.
4. To find out problems encountered by the Tourism and Hospitality industry in creating employment in Oyun local government, kwara state
5. To determine the contributions of Tourism and Hospitality industry towards the growth of Nigeria economy.