Cross River State government has promised to harness the state’s vast tourism potentials, with a view to making it a tourism hub in Africa. Speaking in Lagos, Thursday night, at the unveiling of the state’s tourism may, Governor Liyel Imoke said Cross River State wants to be known and recognised as a tourism product.
He revealed that at a time when such companies as Guinness Nigeria Plc, First Bank Plc and Dangote Group, Diamond Bank Plc and others sponsor Calabar Carnival, the state government was deeply committed in its tourism drive, adding: “The campaign is the first step we are taking at ensuring that tourism takes the centre stage in Cross River State. The government has commenced a strategic marketing campaign and we are doing it in earnest. What we unveiled today is government’s bold statement n promoting tourism as a major revenue earner for the state.”
The governor said that the government was packaging the state as a tourism destination, a brand new image that relates specifically to tourism. “Cross River State government’s commitment has moved…We have decided to make tourism the key pillar upon which we have built our economic development drive, which is why we continue to invest heavily on tourism infrastructure. A lot of tourism potentials have been discovered in Cross River State and by implication, Nigeria,” he said. While soliciting partnership of the private sector, Imoke enlisted: “Today, we launch a strategic tourism marketing campaign and unveil the new Cross River State Tourism plan.
This launching is to demonstrate the commitment of the state government and further showcase that we mean business by inviting you to join hands with us as partners. “The state is poised to tap into one per cent of the country’s teeming of 167,0000000 people. What this means is that at the end of the day, Cross River State will be playing host to 1.67 million people yearly coming for leisure and relaxation. This will positively impact on our overall GDP. “We have moved from selling the yearly Calabar Festival to selling the state as a destination for leisure and relaxation and promoting tourism as the mainstay of the state’s income earner.
Everything that has been showcased from the presentation was wholly Cross River State. There was no exaggeration of the vast tourism potentials inherent in the state. “As a state, we want to be known and recognised as a tourism product and fly with it not just as a destination, but as a brand. We are deeply committed to creating value for investors whom we are challenging to come and invest their resources in what the state is offering as a tourist haven. I know a lot of people will say that government has no business doing business that should have been done by the private sector or business, but we want to again restate our position that as a responsible and committed government, we really have business to create the enabling environment and infrastructure for private sector to key into and drive the state as a tourist destination.”
Earlier at a session with sponsors and would-be-investors, First Bank Plc Group Managing Director, Mr. Bisi Onasanya charged investors to take advantage of the huge investment opportunities in Cross River State and tag along it to maximise their bottom-line.