By Wevole Ezin
In its avowed determination to maintain its status as the preferred tourism destination in Nigeria and provide standard accommodation for the larger number of visitors expected at this year’s edition of Carnival Calabar, Cross River State government has given one million naira grant each to 10 hotels in the state capital, Calabar to enable them improve on their facilities.
Presenting the award to the deserving hotels at Kada Cinema Studio 2, Marina Resort, Calabar Wednesday, the Managing Director of the state Tourism Bureau, Prince Ekpenyong Ojoi said the initiative, aptly named “Empowering Hotels, Investing in Excellence,” is a testament to the state government’s unwavering commitment to sustainable tourism and belief in the potential of its local businesses.
While expressing gratitude to the state governor for his steadfast dedication to fulfilling promises outlined in the “People First” mantra, he said the award presentation is a tangible demonstration of his commitment to fostering economic growth and empowerment within the state.
According to him, the 10 exceptional hotels were carefully selected based on their commendable efforts in staying up-to-date with licensing requirements and their potential for remarkable growth.
“Today’s recognition is not merely a financial grant, it is a vote of confidence in your commitment to excellence, service quality, and the advancement of our state’s tourism landscape.
“We acknowledge that the tourism industry thrives when our hospitality partners are thriving. It is in this spirit that we embark on this journey of empowerment, knowing that by investing in our hotels, we invest in the very essence of our tourism potential.”
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Elvert Ayambem who described the gesture as a welcome development said this is what the hoteliers have been yearning for to enable them reposition and improve on their facilities.
Ayambem, represented by the Minority Leader of the Assembly Hon Samuel Abang pledged the Assembly’s readiness to cooperate with the tourism industry in the area of law making to ensure its viability.
“In terms of security, we are pushing had to ensure that our state return to what it used to be in the past. We have passed the Anti kidnapping law with death sentence as penalty among other good laws to ensure the safety and protection of our people.”
The Commissioner for Tourism, Hon Abubakar Ewa who noted that the hospitality industry has suffered stagnation in the recent past, praised Governor Otu for the grant which he said will help them renovate their facilities in readiness to cater for the accommodation of the teeming human traffic expected in the state for its 32 days Christmas Festival including Carnival Calabar.
One of the beneficiaries of the grant and Managing Director of Pyramid Hotel Calabar, Mr Charles Ogar thanked Otu for the grant which he said will go a long way to help in giving their hotels a facelift especially during this festive period.