Tourism Comet Club International (TCCI) of Nigeria Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) Lagos state chapter recently organized a domestic tour tagged “Crossriver /Akwaibom 2019“ to promote tourism in Nigeria.
Their aims and objective is to inspire, motivate and educate the youths on value and importance of tourism, to discover the tourism opportunities in their domain and showcase it to the world.
In this report, President TCCI Nihotour Lagos state Chapter, Chief Kate Ejike led the group to explore tourist sites in Cross river/Akwa-ibom states respectively, shared their experiences on the just concluded tour with African Development Magazine.
President Ejike: ‘Tour was awesome and i was overwhelmed’
“The just concluded tour was educative; I was so excited to have a success story because all my tours have its own unique storyline that makes each to stand out. I had a swelling time exploring their local cuisine, night tourism and cleanliness of the states and peaceful coexistence between among them.
We visited Peace Park, Museum, Tinapa resort, Old calabar circuit, Watt market, Drill ranch, Slave trade museum, Kwa water falls. In Cross river state, The palace of HRH Muri Joseph Effiong Etim Edem III, Tropicana Golf resort ,National stadium and Ibenu beach
“I strongly believe Tourism can turn the economy of Nigeria around for good because we have all it takes to do that. All we need to do is draft a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Identify the best part of tourism in which we can do best.
The president hailed the Federal Government for tackling insecurity which is affecting tourism, calls for an independent ministry for tourism and a way to reduce unemployment in Nigeria
“Truly, the government has done so much and much needed to be done as well in order to tackle the insecurity challenges people are facing. The government needs to double their effort to tackle the insecurity that has enveloped us. Insecurity is a big problem and it is really affecting inbound and outbound tourism.
“Just as when we want to explore the world’s skyscrapers in Dubai and wildlife in Kenya. We can excel in cultural tourism, eco-tourism and some other aspect of tourism. Government should ensure bilateral agreement , Visa free travel agreement with some country that will enable some countries been able to travel to another without Visa like recently Ghana signed visa free travel agreement with Guyana that will open done for enabling business investment thereby boasting their economy and their foreign currency earn. Our government should make our requirement a bit flexible for foreigners. She concluded.
While applauding Nihotour for educational tourism , NTDC , FTAN ,ITP, GITH and TCCI for contributing immensely to the development of tourism ,Ejike urge the federal government to establish a tourism ministry to complement effort of the these organizations and agencies.
Mr Emma Okeke: ‘Tour Experience was a Bomb, I enjoyed fishermen pepper soup’
It was indeed a lovely tour, getting to meet and interact with a lager section of people from the south-south region of Nigeria. Their cuisine (Edikaikon, fishermen pepper soup) was memorable, beautiful ambience, easy going life and accommodating nature of the inhabitants of both states whom share a common boundary and very similar cultural and language semblance. Furthermore, their quest to preserve culture and relay history to tourists was very daunting.
Mr Okeke expresses his displeasure on some abandoned and dilapidated tourist sites which need urgent attention.
“I observed that if there is adequate Federal government support, CrossRiver state would by now be contending with the likes of Dubai, Kenya etc, generating massive revenue through tourism. This is so because, the TINAPA LAKESIDE HOTEL PROJECT was built , according to Mr Martin’s , the tour guide, with the aim that the shipping liners would be functional and freight goods directly from overseas to this large breathtaking malls.
‘Tour Experience was fun-loving’ – Mrs Chinyere Ibeabuchi
My experience to Cross-River /Akwa Ibom States is one of its kinds. It was filled with many high moments from breathtaking attractions to sampling of local delicacies, had so much fun with no dull moments. Attractions visited were top notch; the transportation mode all through the tour was very comfortable. There were numerous interesting activities like partying, clubbing, karaoke, networking and a whole lot more.
Mrs Ibeabuchi discuss on Insecurity, establishment of tourism ministry and unemployment.
“Security agencies must work together to combat this menace, culprits when apprehended must be punished accordingly. Attraction sites must be properly safeguarded and tourists must be made to have trust and confidence in the activities of the government. Roads leading to tourist sites should be in perfect conditions and well lighted. There should be visible security posts between reasonable intervals. Communication signs and directions should be placed at strategic locations to avoid being misguided by miscreants.
“The tourism sector performed better when it had a ministry of its own. This allowed for specialized and targeted attempts at making the sector a viable one. For us to get it right, the Tourism Sector must stand on its own with a well-seasoned tourism enthusiast and professional who have so much passion, manning the affairs of the industry.
“Globally, in 2018, tourism created over 319 million jobs and it represents one in every 10 jobs. This is massive. This year, the theme for world tourism day is ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’ There are a lot of direct and indirect jobs that can be created through active tourism activities in the country. Some of the jobs include tour guiding, tour operation, travel agencies, narrators, curators, bar tending, housekeeping, hostesses, drivers, concierges, souvenir merchants, shop keepers, in fact, the list is endless. Tourism spans across every sector.
Bayode Yemisi Christiana: ‘Tour Experience was funalicious’
The tour really worth it and honestly, I did not want it to end (laughs) – My experience was ‘Wow’, I had a very wonderful and memorable experience in the last tour to Cross River and Akwa Ibom State. They are like twin sisters; they have almost the same culture. There are two striking things in Cross River-all street roads are tarred except for the one that leads to Drill ranch where some animals are kept to prevent extinction.
Secondly, the town is very clean compare to other States. We were able to explore so many attraction sites such as Akwa Ibom International standard Stadium, Kwa water falls, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, abandoned Tinapa site, Mother Mary Sclessor’s abode and tomb, University of Calabar, Colonial History museum among so many other sites. Also, we were treated to sumptuous meals of different soups during the tour.
Finally, we were able to visit Efuk clan palace where welcome party was organise for us and we got first-hand information about the clan from the Prince’s mouth. The climax of the tour was when two people among us bagged Chieftaincy title of Mokofa from the clan. Cross -river is indeed a state to visit.
‘Tour Experience was memorable and unforgettable’ Ikwo Judit Elijah (Tourism Student)
The tour was well organized and a kudos!. Though I would have love some sites added.
While discussing on independent ministry and creating of jobs through tourism, Ms Ikwo said that scrapping the tourism ministry is or was a very big mistake.
‘’I will advise Government to bring back the tourism ministry with the hope that the ministry will come up with a white paper on all tourist sites and how it revenue can be generated on these sites.
‘’Tourism Sector can create millions of job opportunities to a whole lot of people. There are the direct jobs e g tour guides, museum curators, sites managers etc., indirect jobs e g, drivers, hoteliers, restaurant, artifacts sellers, souvenir sellers etc. and it’s quite a long chain. She concluded.
Prince Edem Etim: ‘Tour Experience was informative and educative’
I experience the Efik cuisine like the Afang soup, Edikanikong soup, rosted plantain , palm wine and bush meat, also one of the richest cultural heritage in Nigeria when I visited the Muri Palace Muri Joseph Effiong Edem of Efut Abua kingdom where he displayed artifacts inherited from his fore father’s .it was very educative I learnt a lot. I also visited Tinapa which wasn’t functioning as at the time I got there, No business was working, Nothing was moving their business wise, Not even a guest in the room, the hotel was empty. I visited the drill ranch where I saw rare monkeys that cannot be found easily in Africa, the Drill monkeys. I visited the museum there where I was taught the history and way of life of the Calabar people
‘Tour Experience was superb, fisherman soup does it all’ – Ms Ochala Joy, Member
It was a wow experience; one will want to stay for long, from the cleanliness of both states, to the attractions and the local cuisines especially the fisherman soup
While proffering solution to unemployment in Nigeria, Ms Ochala stated that Tourism can reduce unemployment in Nigeria through tourism as it is an industry that has the highest employment record globally
“My advice to other states is for them to look into what the state that makes it peculiar, package and showcase it for the world to see because every state has its own peculiarities that is spectacular to them.
A fantabulous Tour Experience – Ojatula Yetunde
It was a fantabulous tour and I must commend the EXCO members of the TCCI NIHOTOUR chapter for packaging such a memorable, educative tour for her members. The executive transportation (return), accommodation, the local cuisine and free dinner served was awesome. Yes! I love food, yum! It was an avenue for cultural exchange with different people from diverse backgrounds to view life through the lens of Akwa Ibom/Cross river people.
I enjoyed the scenery and the tranquility of both states and the tour sites visited were remarkable although needs serious attention and promotion. Also, I witnessed first-hand, an unexpected traditional coronation of two of our members by the Muri of Efut Kingdom, Muri Joseph Effiong Edem. The cultural exhibition, dance, the masquerade display was top notch and the hospitality melted at the palace was out of this world, one which I won’t forget in a hurry, worthy of acknowledgement. It was highly remarkable.
While reacting to insecurity as it affect tourism, Ms Ojatula stressed that everyone has a role to play in eradicating this plaque, not just the government only.
“The heads of various institutions (Family, religious, traditional, economy, educational, Judiciary, legislative, executive) has a huge role to play. The government should oversee and hold a stakeholder forum with various heads in ensuring all hands are on deck to resolve this menace also, the government should encourage and fund the Security with up to date ammunition and technology. Not forgetting to ensure their welfare should be attractive.
Afegbai Omolere Gen. Sec (TCCI NIHOTOUR Lagos chapter)
The visit to Akwa Ibom and Cross River States has really been an eye opener for me especially on the efficacy of government’s policies on the implementation and sustenance of a clean and greenery state. Interesting was the strict adherence to proper road use and their commitment to the growth, also development of tourism. Whilst so many potential heritage sites abound, the governments are making tremendous efforts to utilise, promote and develop.
While reacting to insecurity and unemployment, Mrs Afegbai said Insecurity is becoming an epidemic not only in Nigeria but all over the globe. Every nation is experiencing theirs.
“My advice to the government would be to invest more on technical security training of existing security personnel, additional manpower recruitment coupled with a fair and equitable reward structure. The government should also invest in up to date machinery and equipment in this sector so as to enable them be more effective and efficient in disposing their duties. She said
Iyiola Kehinde Mariam Treasurer TCCI, Laspotech Chapter 2017/2018
It was an amazing experience. There was lots of love to go around.
While expressing her displeasure on insecurity and how it has been affecting tourism
“The government can reduce the rate of insecurity affecting tourism in Nigeria by setting up proper security personnels all around the country and most especially the tourist attraction sites; this is to ensure that tourists are properly secured. There should also be adequate travel guides. The use of security cameras and CCTV to monitor suspicious movement are also highly recommended. She said
‘Tour Experience was eventful, memorable and interesting’ – Nwachukwu Kingsley Uzoma President TCCI, Laspotech Chapter 2017/2018
It was impacting, one of the packaged tours I’ve enjoyed so far. The love and oneness was just too much.
Mr Kingsley urge the Federal government to establish a tourism ministry and more agency to oversee the affair, promote and showcase Nigeria to the world
“Tourism is flexible enough to accommodate people from different disciplines. If there’s an independent Ministry of Tourism, the vision will be explored, more works will be done, and more hands will be needed for the work as proposed. Obviously, tourism will directly reduce the rate of unemployment in Nigeria as a whole.
Below are photos from Cross-River/Akwa-Ibom 2019 Tour: