Daily Archives: December 17, 2016

Carnival Calabar Should Be Fully Private Sector Funded by 2020 – Gabe

Since its establishment in 2005, Africa’s biggest street party dubbed ‘Carnival Calabar’ has become a mainstay in terms of what Cross River [the host state] is known for. Year in, year out modifications geared towards the sustainability of the event is continually being made. In this interview with OBAJI AKPET of African Travel Times, the chairman of Cross River carnival commission, Gabe Onah peaks of some of the modifications that have been made, and the number of countries expected to hit this year’s carnival, the economy of carnival Calabar, and other sundry issues.

We’re currently witnessing the last Carnival Calabar dry run, what’s the plan so far for this year’s event?

The governor has promised that Carnival Calabar 2016 will be bigger, bolder and better; at the carnival commission, we say ‘it will be fireworks.’ The governor, in conjunction with the stakeholders, based on his revised vision, decentralized the carnival routes to introduce something new; and this is what we have experienced here by decentralizing the flag off points and muster points for Carnival Calabar 2016 and beyond.

The trick is that the public/audience had complained about longer hours on the road, and in assuaging these feelings, we went back to the drawing board when the governor said ‘how do we create more excitement?’ the new route was borne. And today, we have celebrity dry run; we had the royal dry run the other time, apart from the first dry run.

Every dry run is an experience; it’s a day out for families celebrating the week end of Sunday. And this final dry run is a replica of what will happen come December 28, 2016. Then the international carnival is another new story we did last year; we have expanded it by including the arrival.

We have over 20 countries that have signified interest to be in Calabar.

Apart from the bikers’ parade and the street rally, their participations are some of the things that are going to create more excitements.

You’ve been the chairman of Carnival commission since 2007, what can you say has been the return on yearly herculean investment in the carnival?

For us, our projection is that by 2020, Carnival Calabar should be 100 per cent private sector funded.

So far, as a responsible government, and clerking the return on investment, the socio-economic factor is huge. The economics of it, the change of life it brings about, creating jobs for our boys and girls and putting monies in their hands, has been huge in terms of success.

The milestones and data are there for us to see. But the private sector funding, which is what we call the buying, is yet to achieve where we want it to be. But 2020, yet not far, but still far; we’re beginning to create that gradual awareness.

You could see the flags of the sponsors’; we had over 20 sponsors’ flag. Through the years we have received different overtures from different sponsorship companies, some of them as their CSRs, some of them as outright supports to the government; and this is why we wanted this to be bottom up in terms of growth.

But we place it on the past mark, in terms of growth, is a private sector running with it? Yes. And this brings us to the role government has to play; government has to sit back, government has to sit in terms of our involvement, first, in funding, second, in organization because the private sector would want to manage their own; and as a businessman the governor said he is buying into that vision and that the future of carnival Calabar is in the hands of the private sector.

Could you give a quick assessment on the Carnival Calabar so far?

Having been around on this journey, the Carnival Calabar has grown in leaps and bounds, every year comes with its own, so also every governor comes with his own too.

Above all, we’ve been lucky to have three consecutive governors who have kept the dream, kept the promise. We want carnival Calabar to be a way of life of the people of Cross River State. Have we achieved this? Yes. We have achieved this.

You can see what the present governor has brought to bear. He has increased the participation of people in government; he has increased the international appreciation and he has increased the community participation; and the lot of Carnival Calabar, for its community participation. So for me, it’s grown in leaps and bounds.

Moving on, what can you say is the future of Carnival Calabar?

The future of Carnival Calabar is that it’s going to grow beyond any one of us and that’s my prayer. Carnival Calabar will grow beyond us. I want to sit back and look back and say that this was what we started and that it is doing well.

African Travel Times Award Winners Receive Certificates

Winners of 2016 edition of the African Travel Times Award have been presented with their certificate of awards by the publisher/editor of the magazine, Lucky Onoriode George.

While presenting the certificates, Onoriode George said he was delighted having them emerge winners at this year’s edition, and therefore, urged them to keep it up.

The 2016 winners include Synagogue Church of All Nations [SCOAN], which won the Most Visited Religious Destination in Nigeria; Peacock Travel and Tours went home with the Most Innovative & Efficient Travel Agency in Nigeria, and Sheraton Abuja Hotel & Towers carted home the Best Public & Media Relations Hotel in Nigeria.

Other winners are Akwaaba Travel Market, winning the Most Valuable Travel Fair in Nigeria while the Most Active Travel & Tourism Association in Nigeria was won by Nigeria Association of Tour Operators [NATOP].

The award is in recognition of “excellence” in the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria, and to encourage stakeholders to strive for excellence in the sector.

Onoriode George reiterated his intention to make the award a West African and the entire African continent affair in no distant time.
Winners of the various awards are selected based on the decision of panel of industry experts and professionals in the various subsectors.

The African Travel Times is a monthly travel and tourism magazine, which has been in circulation since 2011, covering news of ‘Insiders’ in the sector written from a local or native point of view of fascinating people, places of interest in the industry from any part of Nigeria and Africa.

Terrorism Is Rocking Nigeria’s Tourism Enterprise – Prof. Asira

By Obaji Akpet, [Calabar]

Professor Asira Asira, a peace and conflict resolution expert has said that terrorism in Nigeria has had a lot of untold effect in the Nigerian tourism sector, even though the extent cannot be clearly measured.

Prof. Asira, who also lectures in the University of Calabar was among those consulted in the wake of the establishment of Niger Delta Commission [NDDC] and continues to advocate for peace education in Nigeria.

During a two day capacity building programme on infrastructure for peace [I4P] held at Green Valley hotel, Calabar recently, as organized by Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution [IPCR].

Asira posited that, “It affects tourism; it affects any arm of the society.

“If a place is being terrorized, you wouldn’t be desirous to go anywhere. As soon as I hear any information that that place is not safe security wise, I wouldn’t go.

“So infrastructure for peace and conflict resolution calls even the tourist and the organizers of tourism enterprise to come together, work together.

“How can we maintain peace so that people can tour our sites?”

Asira added that even though very little is known about the grave lost Nigeria has incurred from the spates of terror the country suffers, the country’s potentials have continued to deplete.

“Even now, no records, no complete records to tell us how much we have lost both financially and otherwise.”

“Our people have died, the fund through the oil has declined, that’s why you see even electricity; the megawatt has declined, everything.

“So we all need to work together.

“Even the man we call the common on the street needs to be informed; because sometimes they wear those kind of people bomb everywhere, they indoctrinate them”.

For government to check terrorism for peace to better tourism posture, Asira insisted that government should involve experts to find out the actual reason for current agitations in order to halt the current mayhem being meted on society terrorists.

Siting Boko haram, the prof. said: “You see that Boko haram problem, there’s a very big reason in which they are fighting; the government needs to know what exactly the matter is.

“Perhaps, it has religious undertone, political undertone; they should find out. An expert should find out, not any kind of persons.

On his part, the Director-general of IPCR, Prof. Oshita Oshita told African Travel Times that his organization was doing all in its power to help regain Nigeria’s lost glory in the tourism enterprise.

This, Oshita said his institute was doing by “trying to identify critical stakeholders in peace building, something which we have often neglected in our environment; but also to build their capacities to do the good work that they are doing even more than they are able to do now.”

Adding, he said that “The reason being that we have found out that in most part of our country, we have taken peace for granted so we do not work positively to bring peace rather we wait to contain violence or to deal with the consequences of violence.

“Clearly, everyone who travels for leisure is concerned about his or her security and that’s why we are doing our best to see that Nigeria continues to attract tourists; and the effort we are making here, part of what we want to say is that Nigeria remains the destination for tourists.”

He further stated that if the dream of economic diversification must work, all hands certainly must continue to be on deck to restore Nigeria to its former place.