In a bid to check criminal activities in hotels in Nigeria, the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) yesterday unveiled plans to create an electronic data base of all staff in Nigeria's hotels as a way of tracking the work history of hotel workers.
The initiative according to the Director- General of NTDC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, would check the ease with which hotel workers move from one hotel to the other, even after committing crimes at their previous work places.
Runsewe said: "All over the world, hotel and the entire tourism business is a serious business and the resort to information and telecommunication technology has boosted the fortunes of the industry in no small way. In Nigeria, people wake up and claim to be hotel consultants without the requisite training, some even say they are the owners of Welcome to Nigeria, a tourism product reserved exclusively for countries and their tourism promotion agencies."
According to Runsewe, the introduction of the biometric system would not only be a proactive measure in arresting future problems associated with unwholesome and corrupt practices, but also a reference point for an employer who may be hiring a worker that was switching jobs. "Once you are in a data base, you cannot lie about yourself, your profile, qualification or personality."
The use of the biometric system involves the data of all staff in the industry to be stored in the system with a control centre holding the master details as backup.
In a mock demonstration before executives of Hotel and Personal Service Employers Association (HOPSEA), Runsewe disclosed that prostitutes take up hotel jobs to widen their clientele and stressed "we must sanitise the tourism sector, and adopt global best practices so that our hotels can be ranked safe. We will not allow our hotels to become a safe place for illegal and criminal activities and this staff biometrics is a further step towards achieving this goal, after hotel registration and monitoring. He explained that all hotels would be made to buy into the project by profiling their staff and any worker who commits a crime will be red flagged so that other hotel managers and owners will be careful with the person if they want to employ him or her.
President of the hotel employers association Samuel Alabi, described the plan as well thought over and assured that his association would begin the sensitisation of its members to ensure they all buy into the project. He said the association would benefit greatly from the project, which will put the biodata of actual and potential employees in the hands of hotel employers.