Ahead of the 2023 Calabar Carnival, the Cross River State Government has released N100 million grant to the first 10 selected hotels in Calabar to give their facilities a facelift.
The grant was handed over on Tuesday at Marina Resort Calabar by the managing director of the state tourism board, Prince Ojoi Ekpenyong, on the directive of the state governor, Prince Bassey Otu.
Ekpenyong told the crowds of hoteliers and stakeholders in the hospitality sector that tourism was very critical to the state.
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He said the grant, though small, is to assist them to reset their hotel receptions and change beddings as government is expecting huge number of tourists, guests and participants.
“This grant, though the first phase, is a practical commitment by the state governor to ensure that ambience and state of hotels in Calabar are updated and cleaned up in view of thousands of guests and visitors coming from next week for the carnival.
“Similar gesture will be extended to hotels in the central and northern parts of the State soon.
“Please, ensure that you apply this money at where it is intended,” he stressed.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Elvert Ayambem, represented by the Minority Leader, Hon. Samuel Neji Abang, representing Ikom 1, assured that the legislators would enforce state laws to ensure peace, safety and cleanliness of the city during the carnival.
Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Abubakar Ewa listed criteria for selection of the 10 hotels to include number of rooms, functionality, and power facilities, among others.
Speaking on behalf of recipients, Mr. Charles Ogar who is the president of Hotel Owners Association in the state, commended the government for the gesture.
He said, “Every hotel needs help. Despite that we have over 300 hotels in the state yet we appreciate the amount for the few hotels selected meantime. We assure that we will apply this grant judiciously as we prepare to receive visitors.”