FAMS Embassy Suites; redefining Badagry hospitality

Posted: November 23, 2016 in general
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FAMS Embassy Suites

VICTOR NZE

This is by all standards the most expensive hotel in Badagry with room rates ranging from N25, 000 to as high as an incredible N150, 000 per night; Welcome to the FAMS Embassy Suites, the imposing edifice sitting on the Lagos-Badagry expressway in Ibereko.

It is not for nothing that this expansive 50-room hotel stands out in the Badagry axis of Lagos, it conspicuously lights up the community, with an expression of opulence registered in Badagry. There are very few hotel rooms going for as high as N150, 000 per night in the entire Lagos and Abuja.

However, beside, the price, this is perhaps one of the few hotels which offer up to 150MB free wifi for guests, as well as free room charge for up to two children under 12 years accompanying their parents.

Tastefully-furnished with superior decor, the FAMS Embassy Suites is the hotel where almost every room is a suite on its own, with the Penthouse Suite offering an impressive view of the Ibereko and Badagry towns on one side and the Atlantic Ocean, on another side.

For the Ogun State-born Fatai Shokunbi, chairman of FAMS Embassy Suites, who also doubles as the chairman of the Badagry Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB), it is about a passion for the industry and a desire to lift the tourism sector in Badagry.

The hotel

“This hotel took three years to build. You can see why it took so long by the quality of the building materials used and also by the quality of the builders some of who had to come all the way from across the border. By next year, it would have completed three years in operation.

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Fatai Shokunbi

“We derived it from the initials of my name and that of my younger brother Fatai Adegboyega Musibau Shokunbi (FAMS). Our goals at FAMS Embassy Suites remain job creation for the community, a passion for the tourism sector and to grow the Badagry heritage tourism in our own unique way.

“The hotel offers a standard swimming pool, gym, club, a VIP lounge for our visitors, conference rooms with visual facilities, a restaurant for all dishes, and many more facilities for guests and non-guests, in addition to guided tours of the various heritage sites of Badagry for our guests who request for the service.

Location

“This hotel was not originally planned to be located in Badagry. It was supposed to be in Lome or Seme area, in Togo and Benin Republic, respectively. These were the hubs of trading activities on the sub-region but at the stage of final decision between my brother and I (both of us own the hotel, by the way), I stopped to reconsider the decision. I knew Badagry had potential for growth. It has a future. I believe it will grow to become an emerging destination for trade and tourism in Africa. If you are going to Lome, Accra, Cotonou and other cities in West Africa, you will have to pass through Badagry from Nigeria or to Nigeria.

“Incidentally, this conviction also informed our decision to site the FEMS Embassy Suites here and largely because of my passion for tourism and conviction that Badagry remains a destination with a huge potential for return on investment for investors. I know Badagry has economic potential. I believe that it will grow. If you are going to Ghana, Togo or Benin Republic from here, even if you are coming here from those countries, you will pass through Badagry.

Challenges

“We have challenges, of course. It has to do with the community. But I believe that better relations will resolve it and even though I personally think some of the demands are not tenable, I however remain optimistic that time, constant dialoguing and relations with the community will resolve all that.

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View of Badagry from the Penthouse suite

“However, I’m concerned about the state of roads leading to the town and I’m saying this because we know there’s a lot of work to be done towards attaining that status we all expect Badagry to reach. It’s not just fixing the roads when a prominent politician is about to visit the town as has been noticed of late; maintaining the roads has to be a routine procedure because roads are important for businesses to thrive.

“Government needs to do more. Government has to do find a way through evolving and enacting policies that will encourage people outside the country to come in and invest. This is how an economy grows anywhere in the world. I know for sure that there are many Nigerians abroad who want to come home and invest but the harsh conditions are a huge drawback. Incentives have to be provided as it is being done Ghana for businesses springing up in that country.  Presently, the running costs for hotels are not encouraging.

“What the Lagos State government is planning for Badagry is laudable. I believe the government means well for the town but I also worry over how soon these projects will take off. The proposed sea port and petroleum refinery are all good infrastructures for Badagry with a bigger prospect to grow the tourism industry. I’m speaking as businessman not a politician.

Projections

“My projection is that within three to five years, the rationale for the project would be realised. So far, we are just over two years in operation and by February next year, we will complete three years in the business.

“The hotel employs over 100 staff and running cost of N7million while we earn a little less than N8million. But the hotel is running itself since we have yet to break even. Its earnings are just about enough to sustain it. We projected a target of three years to break even, but so far running and operational costs are making that difficult. This is why I said earlier that the government, both at the state and federal levels need to look into the business environment with a view to making it more attractive for investors to come in.

The BCVB

“The Badagry Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB) was established to showcase Badagry as a tourist destination for tourists and visitors alike to come and see the heritage sites. Also, it was established to make sure that people come here and see what Badagry has to offer.

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