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BRIAN EFA: Giving a new lease of life to Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort

Brian Efa, to many strike a familiar cord in the Nigerian hospitaity scene as he noted for his astuteness, knowledge and vast experience in navigating the murky waters of the hospitality business. With him overseeing the affairs of the iconic Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, guests should expect harvest of rich and diverse experiences as they explore this unique property seating majestically in the laid back community of Nwaniba in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.

The hotel is a luxury hotel, with devotion to Ibom both business, and leisure travellers and promotion of MICE as well as the best of golf, as its 18 – hole golf course is regarded as not just one of the best in Nigeria but in Africa, as it has all the features that makes for an exciting golfing, with enchanting and unique natural platitudes. Sited on 147 hectares of well-manicured landscape with rustic and natural pull amidst pristine palm-tree forest and rivers, one feels immediately relaxed and invigorated the moment you walking through the gate of the inviting hotel.

It offers excellent accommodation in 163 rooms and suites on 5-star level, all boosting tastefully and luxuriating amenities for the comfort of guests. It all also features a number of all – day restaurants and bars, where guests are treated to rich culinary toasts of African and continental blend as well as occasional theme nights.

There is also the Marina section, located at the bank of Nwaniba River, which gives it an interesting natural feel that a visitor would find irristible. It is perhaps an entertainment and leisure enclave of some sorts with a life of its where guests are treated to the best of upscale entertainment. Among its facilities are lounge bar that is richly stocked, art gallery and game room with a number of games, including traditional game, seat out area and gazebo with a garden- like feel for relaxation.

You are guaranteed the best of pizza at the Marina among other special culinary offerings. With seven meeting rooms and a large banquet hall, with over 700 seating capacity, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort presents the best option business and MICE in the South south region of the country.

It also offers team-building sessions as one of its add- on value. And with its enchanting and natural luxuriating environment, you are sure of the best of nature with no distraction of any kind. With its picturesque and enchanting 18 – hole golf course, and a golf house that is amply fitted and equipped, the hotel offers the best golfing option for people and over the years has attracted some of the best and known names in the golfing world to its course. The hotel, which is owned by the Akwa Ibom State government as one of its legacy projects, was opened in 2007 and has enduring history in terms of its management, as it was first managed by Le Meridien for 10 years and later it came under the Marriott brand before attracting the managerial touch of some foreign independent manager.

But now there is a new head at the helms and it is in historic, in that it will be the first time that a Nigeria will be appointed to manage the affairs of the hotel, with Brian Efa as the acting general manager of the hotel, since 2018. His avowed mission, he said is to give a new lease of life to the hotel and put it on the part of profitability as the hotel over the years has been in the red. That dream is gradually coming to fruition as Efa has somehow revolutionised the hotel and brought it back to winning ways.

Efa, who is also the Founder and President of Nigerian Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, is noted for his Midas touch, especially for his innovative approach to management, which has to ongoing maintenance of the infrastructure of this gigantic hotel and golf resort. His presence in the hotel is said to have greatly enhanced the performance and rating of the hotel as it has moved up the ladder for many guests and destination managers, who regard it as one of the topdestination for leisure with its world-class 18 – hole golf course, a large swimming pool (with children’s pool), large gym with pool-view and personal trainer, tennis and squash courts, hair- and beauty salon, spa, sauna, bicycle rental, pool-table, games room, football-pitch, volleyball course, and offering of guided tours, daily live-music and a night clubbing. As the first local general manager of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Efa has within his short stint galvanised resources, revitalised the resort and made great returns on investment to its owners, and has placed it back on the tourism space. His effort has truly yielded much fruit as among other landmarks, he was listed in 2018 as one of the top 30 hospitality influencers in Nigeria, and recently inducted into the Top 100 Tourism Personalities Club due to his consistent contribution to the development of tourism in Nigeria.

The manifest of all these efforts also culminated in the resort winning different awards in the tourism industry with the commitment of the staff to deliver on the promise of the hotel; world class and professionalised service delivery. Prior to becoming the acting general manager of the hotel, Efa had spent several years in finance function in the hospitality business, including serving as director of finance, Ibom Hotel; the pioneer assistance financial controller, Southern Sun Ikoyi; pioneer deputy chief accountant, Le Meridian Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort and finance and admin manager, Le Chateau Hotel and Suite, Calabar, Cross River State. The Harvard trained hotelier and finance expert has more than 15years experience in hospitality business.

As managing partner of Jonel Hospitality Consulting; a hospitality investment advisory firm, he spends more than six years consulting for individuals, firms and government on the best approach to developing and investing in the industry to guarantee result, he has raised over $500 million of syndicated fund for hotel development in Nigeria. Efa holds a certificate in Finance Management from Hotel School The Hague (Netherlands) and a Certificate in Hotel Management from Wavecrest Collage of Hospitality. He also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from University of Calabar. Also, he had attended several trainings in Nigeria and abroad, including Harvard Business School, Lagos Business School and John Maxwell Leadership Academy in order to hone his managerial skill.

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