By Aluta News
Nov. 28, 2023
Cross River gave a N1 million grant each to 10 hotels on Tuesday in Calabar as part of efforts to boost tourism in the state.
“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.
“The recognition is not merely a financial grant.
“It is a vote of confidence in their commitment to excellence, service quality, and the advancement of the state’s tourism landscape,’’ Mr Ojoi Ekpenyong, Managing Director of the Cross River Tourism Bureau, said.
He was speaking at the Cross River Tourism Grant Award Presentation with the theme: “Empowering hotels, investing in excellence – our commitment to sustainable tourism.’’
He said the effort was also aimed at ensuring that hotels in the state were in good shape.
He said the 10 hotels that got the grants would be closely monitored in line with the grant criteria and the minimum requirements for industry standards.
Ekpenyong said the award, which was starting with hotels in the southern senatorial district of the state, would continue in the first quarter of 2024 in the central senatorial district.
He added that it would move to the northern senatorial district of the state in the third quarter before returning to the south before the 2024 Calabar Carnival.
“We acknowledge that the tourism industry thrives when our hospitality partners are thriving.
“It is in this spirit that we embarked on this journey of empowerment, knowing that by investing in our hotels, we invest in the very essence of our tourism potential,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Abubakar Ewa noted that the hospitality industry in Cross River suffered stagnation in the last few years and needed to be revived.
Ewa appealed to the benefitting hotels to use the grants judiciously, noting that Cross River would move from strength to strength with support from the hospitality industry.
Responding, Chairman, Cross River chapter of Hoteliers Association of Nigeria, Mr Charles Ogar, said it was the first time such gesture was extended to hoteliers in the state.
He advised the 10 benefiting hotels to use the grant judiciously as they had been chosen out of 360 hotels in the state.
A beneficiary of the grant and Chief Executive Officer of his Calabar-based hotel, Mr Ettete Samson expressed appreciation of the state government for the grant.
He said, however, that more needed to be done to boost tourism in Cross River, particularly in the area of power supply, low patronage and the dearth of air flights into Calabar.
The grants came as kickers for the commencement of the 2023 Calabar Carnival, the first under the administration of Gov. Bassey Otu.