Quote:The Lagos State Government at the weekend officially took delivery of the prestigious Sunborn Yacht Hotel which it recently acquired.
The floating hotel is reputed to be one of the few major tourism innovations in the world. The 105-bedroom custom-built boat hotel moored at the Marina waterfront has become an exciting spectacle with many passers-by stopping to catch a glimpse or take photographs with their telephone devices.
Speaking while receiving the floating hotel facility, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-governmental Relations, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, described the transfer of the hotel to Lagos as a landmark achievement of Governor Babatunde Fashola administration meant to reposition Lagos as a tourism destination saying, “for Lagos, Africa and indeed the Middle East, this has now become the flagship and a project heralding the dawn of a new era in the Nigerian tourism sector.”
The obviously elated Senator Afikuyomi said the Yacht hotel would add value to Lagos Tourism sector being one of the very few floating hotels in the world thereby putting Lagos in the league of cities like New York, Barcelona, Paris and Finland and ahead of cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha which are said to be at various stages of setting up similar floating hotels.
Senator Afikuyomi also credited the speed and success of the acquisition to the healthy relationship between the Lagos State administration and the organized private sector in the state saying, “though this is a fully funded private sector initiative only facilitated by the State government to achieve the set objectives of the administration for the development of tourism in the state, it is on record as one of the quickest PPP transactions prosecuted to fruition in less than one year from conception. This is a credit to the vision and drive of the leadership of Governor Babatunde Fashola and the team spirit that exists in the Lagos State Executive Council”.
Speaking further on the Sunborn Yacht Hotel voted ‘Best Hotel’ in the Food and Drinks Categories in the United Kingdom for 2005 and 2006 respectively, the Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong commended the vision of the Lagos State administration in embarking on the project saying, “this is a breakthrough for tourism in Nigeria and generally for the whole of Africa, because we were made to understand that this is in fact the first of this type of innovation in the hospitality industry in the whole of Africa. History has been made today. This is a landmark achievement that I am very proud to associate myself with.”
Dr. Hong further assured of the Federal government support for the project. He said: “We are very proud of this achievement because it will provide opportunities for so many Nigerians. It will also provide a destination that will power and promote tourism in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. On the part of the Federal Government, we are fully in support of Lagos State and its private sector partners towards realizing this very great achievement.”
The Minister further explained the degree of involvement of the Federal government saying, “though the federal government is not a part of the investment process, we are ready to give more of our support to the management team, Lagos State Government and whoever is involved. Our major excitement at the Federal level about this innovation is that, more than 400 to 500 Nigerians will have direct employment as a result of this large hotel facility and more than 1000 Nigerians will have direct benefit from purchase and supply.”
Custom-built in 1999 and refitted in the year 2002, the Sunborn Yacht Hotel combines contemporary class and comfort being 18.4m wide, 106.5m in length and 17.6m in height from the sea level. The edifice with a total of six decks and an interior space of approximately 5000 sq.m will provide a breathtaking ambience for corporate guests, conference delegates, wedding parties and leisure guests to hold their exclusive events. The Lagos Yacht hotel presently boasts of such facilities such as conference halls, restaurants, meeting rooms, spas, saunas and lounges.