I have really travelled a whole lot and can comfortably say that I have seen it all. Tourism is actually a hobby for me and I can give anything to tour the world just for the fun of it. In my numerous sojourns, I have been in the best hotels and even in some not too good ones. All in all, in every city you travel to, you will definitely see lots of these hotels in their various magnitudes. In Lagos where I was born and raised, hotels sprawl all over the mainland and the island. The five star, three star and even the one star hotels. They are all there to accommodate whoever seeks their patronage, indigene and foreigner alike. We have the guest houses too. They more or less serve almost the same purpose. In the city of Onitsha where I presently reside with my family, there weren't much hotels as compared to the present time, but they still had their fair share of nice hotels. Presently, however, Onitsha has also risen in the charts in that respect. Hotels are one of the things that form the infrastructural development of any city. I have noticed the influx of hotels in the capital city of Anambra state very recently and have been thinking a whole lot about it. Awka is the town where I work. It is also a town that has become like a new bride that gets more and more beautiful by the day. From the moment when you drive into Awka, you would be welcome by the sight of all sorts of exotic hotels. Whether you drive down the long expanse of the express road or you meander through the town, these hotels are spread across every part of the capital city. So, it's really not wrong to say that Awka is a town of hotels. It actually reminds me of the city of Owerri. Owerri has a whole lot of hotels in every corner you go to. I however would not readily draw comparisons between Owerri and Awka judging from the fact that Owerri got developed way before Awka did. I remember very recently, when I was a part of the committee that planned the maiden media summit in this state very recently. That was in April. It was during the planning of that summit that it dawned on me that Awka was indeed a tourist spot as some of our guest speakers expressed looking forward to being lodged in our exotic hotels in the state capital. Some of them actually made their own choices of the hotels and confirmed being given quality services during their stay there. Even when I went on a tour of the various hotels with my committee members to the places where we lodged our guests, to officially welcome them to our state, I was filled with a sense of pride at the satisfaction they expressed about the quality treatment they received.
Today, however, what gave rise to this topic is the effect I think these hotels have on our society especially as it concerns our youths. In a city like Awka, we have lots of youths, given that we have universities and also a polytechnic in the state. Need I mention the numerous banks and other corporate institutions here? Bottomline is that we have lots of young people both in schools and in the corporate world. The question then is, where does the influx of hotels place them? What is the impact it has on them and society generally? How does it affect our moral values? Are there good sides to it? Are there negative sides? Well, perhaps I should take up the positives first. Hotels provide job opportunities for our youths because of her need to hire different workers to take care of her numerous facilities. These vary from managers, to chefs, to laundry men, to waiters to security guards and so on. These people are very important in the running of these hotels which is why it is definitely an advantage to society because their pay check helps provide three square meals for their families. Another positive side to the influx of hotels in our society is the economic advantage it attracts. What do I mean? Hotels, if properly managed, bring in a lot of funds. They generate revenue for the state since those funds would still end up being channeled into taxpaying. These taxes can then be used to provide much needed services to the communities. Hotels beautify the town as well and serve as a sort of tourist spot. They give most families an opportunity for recreation and serve as relaxation centers for both guests from outside the state and Anambrarians, generally. Again, it offers a panacea for visitors who might be on transit and would have nowhere to stay. Apart from being comfortable in these hotels, they have security. They also serve as venues for seminars and workshops. This usually gives the town a facelift when guests from outside the state are in attendance. Again, there are the negative sides to the influx of hotels in our state. Top on this list is crime. It is generally believed that excessive hotels in any community increases crime rates. There are many crimes like gambling, prostitution, kidnapping, etc. Gambling is a very serious crime and has taken different dimensions. Certain hotels have viewing centers for football matches. There is the popular Naira bet that has more or less, become very popu lar among our youths. This is akin to gambling and has really been a bad influence on both men and women who indulge in it. It has become so bad that even school children indulge in it. Again, need I mention the rate at which our young girls are lodged in these hotels at every point you check. Our young boys do not have to be worried about taking these girls to their homes and risk being reprimanded by their parents. All they need do is look for a cheap place and rent and satisfy their fantasies. These are some of the negative impacts these hotels have on the moral lives of our youths, generally. Relatively, cheating partners make use of these hotels as an escape route when they want to play the infidelity game. And then of course, we have the prostitutes who practice their art like the profession they have taken it to be. They, more than any other people, make most use of these hotels. All in all, no matter how negative the impact of hotels are in the state, the advantages certainly outweigh these disadvantages because in the real sense, hotels are considered as very economic components to any community. In fact, certain states, in my opinion should offer some of these hotels enough incentives that would help stimulate hotel development. By incentives, I mean tax breaks, favorable land leases, or financial aids. Then, the government can try to monitor some of their activities by placing certain laws that would help curb the activities of the youth in such a way that it would be really hard for minors to directly have any dealings with these hotels. I think it would in a way, help checkmate some of the activities of our youths, regardless of their being minors or not.