September 15, 2014

Ebola Impact on Lagos Hospitality & Travel Market

Dami Adepoju

Preliminary data, as reported by Bismarck Rewane, of Financial Derivatives Company, has shown a significant drop in hotel occupancy since the first reported case of Ebola in Lagos State.

The disease has been reported in Guinea (where the first case was reported), Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Ebola made its first reported appearance in Lagos, Nigeria in July via a sick traveler from Monrovia, Liberia.  Following this development, airline operations to the affected countries have been restricted in Nigeria.  Cameroon closed its borders to Nigeria and temporarily suspended flights, citing the need to protect the lives of its citizens from Ebola.  Besides Lagos, there were at least four reported cases of Ebola in Port Harcourt, the nation’s oil capital – these were also linked to the index case.  Nigeria has managed the outbreak commendably, with a confirmed 12 of the recorded 19 cases making a recovery from the disease.  A fifth West African country, Senegal, also reported its first case of Ebola, a student who arrived from Guinea carrying the disease.

While the official operating data are yet to be released, reportedly, traffic within West Africa is down by 75%.  Airplane load factors are high out of Lagos at 90%, while inbound load factors are dropping by an average of 50%.  Average hotel occupancy in major Ikoyi hotels dropped to 30%, while Victoria Island saw an even bigger drop to an estimated 20%.  Restaurants are also recording a 50% drop in average daily covers in Lagos. School resumption for the new school year in Lagos was originally postponed to October, but has now been tentatively moved forward to September 22nd.

Moody’s, the credit rating agency, indicated that an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria could disrupt growth in sectors of the economy.  Along with the aviation, hospitality and tourism sectors, others include trade, medical and agriculture.  This slowdown is expected to be temporary, especially as Nigeria has made remarkable effort in managing and controlling the spread of the disease.  There are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in Nigeria.

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