By Asare Asare, Calabar
The Commissioner for Tourism and Culture in Cross River, Mr Eric Anderson has disclosed that most events held during the annual Calabar Christmas Carnival, will no longer be simultaneous.
He spoke in Calabar, capital of Cross River State during a courtesy call by officials of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN).
While assuring that this year’s carnival will hold in spite of COVID-19 pandemic, Anferson said that the events will be staggered throughout the months of the year.
According to him, the tourism subsector of the national economy, had been the hardest hit, impacting the state government and other hospitality operators bearing the brunt.
The FTAN delegation was led by the national vice chairman for South-South, Mr Peter Ofuka.
The Commissioner said his ministry had earmarked many events for different months of the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that interspersing the carnival events will bring visitors and tourists into the state at different times, thereby sustaining economic incomes to individuals, hoteliers, groups and the state government.
“The state government is seriously looking at not holding all carnival events simultaneously although the normal Calabar Carnival will still hold.
“We are looking at attracting visitors into the state all year round to see our array of tourists sites and other potentials. This means that most events will now hold in different months of the year. This we believe will continually boost private sector revenue as well as government IGR”, he said.
Anderson urged those in the hospitality arm of FTAN to maintain high standard services to impress and sustain interest of guests and tourists.
He affirmed the position of the managing director of the state Tourism Bureau, Mr Utsu John Atsu on the Tourism Development Levy (TDL).
“All we ask is for hoteliers and other hospitality providers to build in the minor charge (TDL) into their normal room charges”, he said.
The national vice chairman, Mr Ofuka said FTAN will work with the state to boost tourism activities in the South-South region.
Ofuka said they would hold a workshop in Calabar on 9 September 2020 to sensitise hospitality operators in the state on how best to attend to guests and tourists in these times of COVID-19.